Tag: Collaboration

Dancing the digital age: a survey of the new technologies in the choreographic process

  • Gonzalo Preciado-Azanza
  • Dr. Adesola Akinleye

JOURNAL OF GENIUS AND EMINENCE, 5 (1) 2020

Article 4 | pages 3752

Issue Copyright © 2020 Tinkr

Article Copyright © 2020 Gonzalo Preciado-Azanza & Dr. Adesola Akinleye

ISSN: 2334-1149 online

DOI: 10.18536/jge.2020.01.04

Dancing the digital age: a survey of the

new technologies in the choreographic process

Gonzalo Preciado-Azanza

The Latvian National Ballet

Dr. Adesola Akinleye

Middlesex University

Abstract

This article considers fifty-eight selected dance works created during the time period of 2000-2018. In doing so the work of renown artists Wayne McGregor, Garry Stewart, Dawn Stopiello and Bill T. Jones have been used as case studies to highlight how the eminence of these choreographers has engaged dance as a meeting point and merging point for humanity and ‘New technology’. The article reviews the impact of new technologies as an essential tool in the creative processes of dance and exploration of the moving-body. Innovative technologies in the 21st Century have offered choreographers new capacities for the creation of movement. These explorations into the performance space advance insights into broader questions of the human body at the intersection of arts and science. The choreographers’ exploration of the dancing form cultivates questions about how the human body extends, begins, ends and is present. As the digital age proposes new ways to (re)imagine the communication and impact of the human body we suggest these artistic collaborations also offer insights into commonalities and places of exchange across notions of art versus science. These choreographers inter-disciplinary artistic endeavors, into how the moving body transacts and is harnessed as a mode of expression reveal deeper possibilities of the ontology of the lived-experience.

Keywords: Choreography, Collaboration, Dance, Digital Age, New Technology, Place

Gonzalo Preciado-Azanza | The Latvian National Ballet, Latvia | preciadoazanza@gmail.com

Dr. Adesola Akinleye | Middlesex University, London | A.Akinleye@mdx.ac.uk | [ORCID id – 0000-0001-7342-8292]

Corresponding author: Gonzalo Preciado-Azanza | preciadoazanza@gmail.com

Note: The author attests that there are no conflicts of interest, that the data reported here are not used in any other publications and there are no infringements on previous copyrights.

The question of where the human body ends and begins is renegotiated through the interplay of choreographic work engaging with new technology. Dance movement comes from an intension or expression that creates corporeal repercussions in the physicality of the dancer. However, dance also goes beyond the dancer’s skin, engaging with the assemblage that is the dance costume, stage, video, code, projection even engaging with the body of the computer operator or lighting technician. Performers move the spaces, lighting, and aesthetic of the performance as much as they move the muscle and bone of their physical body. As choreographers engage with the creative process, new technology connects us in barely explored ways across geographic and temporal plains only imagined as traversable a few years ago. During these kinds of collaborations between choreographer and technologists the performer exemplifies the provocative concept of the Body Without Organ (Deleuze & Guattari, 1983, 1987) originally introduced in the fields of philosopher (Gilles Deleuze) and psychoanalyst (Félix Guattari) (Buchanan, 2010). Dance moves within, through, and beyond the skin of the dancer as the form creates shapes, rhythms, and relationships. Following the 20th Century pioneering work of artists such as eminent choreographers Merce Cunningham (Brown, 2007; Cunningham et al., 1998) and William Forsythe (Respini et al., 2018), the 21st Century technology and the internet bring further opportunity for choreographers to explore how, where, and when dance can happen.

The mechanisms of how the moving body responds to change and is harnessed as a mode of expression to reveal deeper understanding of the ontology of the lived-experience is the muse of both the artist and the scientist (Root-Bernstein, 1989). Although the intersection of art and science, that is the dancing body, have been long interwoven in Western philosophy, new technologies in sciences currently offer artists an absorbing scientific and technological creative playfulness (Wilson, 2010). The notion of creativity has been interwoven across artistic and scientific endeavors but the word itself has not existed in English until quite recently (Runco & Jaeger, 2012). In dance, our understanding of creativity as maker-making is challenged and progressed by the digital age. Part of the revolution in the choreographic process that new technologies offer is the relationship performers have with audience. The experience of and literacy in new technologies that audiences bring to dance performances offers new collaborations and intersections between art, artist and onlooker. The role of audience is no-longer static. The audience becomes a part of the immediate creation of the art work in front of them. Audiences can be physically thousands of miles away or spread apart and yet through new technology, be connected in the moment of the dance ‘happening’. The choreographer has the ability to draw in or reference experiences, knowledges, and objects of our unconscious personal and collective everyday through interactions with images, actions, and sounds of personalized social media or personal technological devices. Thus, the dance performance is at once public and yet private. Throughout the last three decades, dance practices have witnessed a great acceleration through technological progress. This article reflects on how new technologies have been used in the work of four choreographers to pursue creative goals in 21st Century Professional Dance (Corazza 2016, pp. 263). In doing this, an initial effort has been made to map the lexis of ideas that the partnership of choreography and technologist can navigate.

Manifestations of New technologies in contemporary choreography

It would not be possible to survey across the many communities of dancers working on a global level. Choreographers working in USA, UK, and Australia were sampled. Therefore, these are the dance-cultural landscapes and sociocultural environments that are present in the research. To overview the field of dance’s engagement with new technology across these locations, four case studies have been taken: Wayne McGregor in the United Kingdom, Dawn Stapiello and Bill T. Jones in the United States, and Garry Stewart in Australia. To analyze/explore the choreographers’ employ of technology in dance creations we began by determining typologies. Thirteen categories of new technologies (see Table 1) were identified. Reflecting on the traditional expectation of the dance emanating from the dancers’ body the thirteen categories in Table 1 were ordered as they extend the skin of the dancer’s human body. That is costumes primarily being close to the tactile act of the body moving, while projection, for instance, has the possibility of being thousands of miles away from the physical body of the dancer it is interacting with. Of course, what is exciting about the possibilities of choreographing with new technologies is how this partnership can disrupt and challenge the limits of human activity, and dance happens beyond the dancer’s body.

Table 1

Classification of New Technologies used in the selected choreographies

Relationship with the Body

(Continued)

New Technology

Description

Examples of choreographies where it had been used

Relationship with the Body

New Technology

Description

Examples of choreographies where it had been used

Nearby

CD

Costume Design

The creation and integration of lights into the piece to develop further its atmosphere. It has been used in the majority of the works to enhance certain aspects of the dancer’s body for a better development of the choreography

The majority of the choreographies by Bill T. Jones such as Black Suzanne (Jones, 2002), as well as in Dyad 1909 (McGregor, 2009) & MOVEment (McGregor, 2015)

ME

Mechanical Extensions

The artificial tools and artefacts designed to increase the adaptation of our specie to the environment that surround us. It has been used in Nemesis to enhance the choreographic vocabulary of the dancer´s limbs.

Nemesis (McGregor, 2001)

Median

LD

Lighting Design

The creation and integration of lights into the piece to develop further its atmosphere. It has been used in all works to enhance certain choreographic aspects

It has been used in all the choreographies analysed such as Tree of Codes (McGregor, 2015) Multiverse (Stewart, 2014), Loopdiver (Stopiello, 2009) & Chapel/Chapter (Jones, 2006)

VD

Video
Design

The creation and integration of film and motion graphics into the piece. It has been used in the majority of the works to enhance certain choreographic aspects

The majority of the choreographies such as Tree of Codes (McGregor, 2015) Multiverse (Stewart, 2014), Loopdiver (Stopiello, 2009) &
Chapel/Chapter (Jones, 2006)

SoD

Sound Design

The creation and integration of sounds into the piece It has been used in the several Jones´s works such as A Quarreling Pair as a complement to music

A Quarreling Pair (Jones, 2007)

Distant

SD

Set Design

The creation of the theatrical scenery to support the artistic goals of the production. It has been used in the majority of the work as an essential element of it and even as part of the choreography as well

The majority of the choreographies such as Tree of Codes (McGregor, 2015) Multiverse (Stewart, 2014), Loopdiver (Stopiello, 2009) &
Chapel/Chapter (Jones, 2006)

3D-MS

3D Moving Set

A three dimensional set design that has been created to move in certain pre-established parts of the stage. It has been used in Entity both as part of the set and the choreography as well, since the dancers interact with them throughout the work

Entity (McGregor, 2008)

Distant

Rob

Robotics

The technologies that are used to develop machines that can substitute for humans and replicate human actions. It has been used in Devolution to perform certain choreographic aspects that could not be performed by the dancers themselves

Devolution (Stewart, 2006)

3D-

CTI

3D Creative Informatic Tool

A computer program designed to develop and create three dimensional products, following some pre-established guidelines. It has been used in Atomos as a source of inspiration for the creation of the movement by the dancers

Atomos (McGregor, 2013)

3D-G

3D Graphics

Graphics that use a three dimensional representation of geometric data to perform calculations and to render 2D images. It has been used in Multiverse both as part of the set and the choreography as well, since the dancers interact with them throughout the work

Multiverse (Stewart, 2014)

LI

Light
Installation

An applied art form in which light is the main medium of expression in which a sculpture produces light or vice versa. It has been used in Future Self as an essential element of this work, in fact as another performer more

Future Self (McGregor, 2012)

AI

Art
Installation

An artistic genre of three dimensional works that often are site-specific and designed to transform the perception of a space. It has been used in Azimuth as an essential element of this work, in fact as another performer more

Azimuth (McGregor, 2013)

MI

Multimedia Installation

A variant of an Art Installation that uses the multimedia technologies as its main medium of expression. It will be used in Swarn as an essential element of this work, in fact as another performer more

Swarn (Under development)
(Stopiello, 2018)

The intension of movement, its repercussions and its effect all inhabit the physical body of the dancers, but also create, change, and respond to the aesthetic, temporality, exhibit, and position of the performance. The muscle and bone of the physical dancing body and the code, or mechanics of the technology bring opportunity for choreographers to explore how, where and when dance can happen. For instance, costume design (CD) has been used remarkably by Bill T. Jones in fourteen choreographies to enhance certain aspects of the dancer’s body, whilst mechanical extensions (ME) have been used by Wayne McGregor in Nemesis (2001) as an augmentation of the choreographic vocabulary of the dancers’ limbs. In contrast, the more ‘distant’ from the physical body, new technologies such as robotics (Rob), 3D graphics (3D-G) create installations that become environments for dance to happen, such as the ones in Devolution (2006) and The Beginning of Nature (2018) by Garry Stewart. An attempt was made to quantify the frequency and variety of the new technologies to have an idea of the impact of technological advances over the two past decades. Fifty-eight choreographies were analyzed: twenty made by Wayne McGregor, ten by Garry Stewart, eight by Dawn Stopiello, and twenty by Bill T. Jones (see Table 2).

Table 2

Dance creations made in the XXI century included in the analysis

Abbreviation

(Continued)

Title

Choreographer

Company

City & Country

Year

Abbreviation

Title

Choreographer

Company

City & Country

Year

Stopiello
(Rosenkruetz)

The chemical
wedding of Christian Rosenkruetz

Dawn Stopiello

Troika Ranch

Lincoln (USA)

2000

Stopiello (DEVO)

SUITE DEVO

Dawn Stopiello

Troika Ranch

New York (USA)

2001

Stopiello (Rien)

Reine Rien

Dawn Stopiello

Troika Ranch

New York (USA)

2001

Stopiello
(Memory)

Future of Memory

Dawn Stopiello

Troika Ranch

New York (USA)

2003

Stopiello
(Surfacing)

Surfacing

Dawn Stopiello

Troika Ranch

New York (USA)

2004

Stopiello
([R]evolutions)

16 [R]evolutions

Dawn Stopiello

Troika Ranch

New York (USA)

2006

Stopiello
(Loopdiver)

Loopdiver

Dawn Stopiello

Troika Ranch

Lincoln (USA)

2009

Stopiello (Swarm)

Swarm
(Under development)

Dawn Stopiello

Troika Ranch

2018

Stewart
(Birdbrain)

Birdbrain

Garry Stewart

Australian Dance Theatre

Adelaide (Australia)

2000

Stewart (Unbeauty)

The Age of Unbeauty

Garry Stewart

Australian Dance Theatre

Adelaide (Australia)

2002

Stewart (HELD)

HELD

Garry Stewart

Australian Dance Theatre

Adelaide (Australia)

2004

Stewart (Nascent)

Nascent

Garry Stewart

Australian Dance Theatre

Adelaide (Australia)

2005

Stewart (Birdbrain)

Devolution

Garry Stewart

Australian Dance Theatre

Adelaide (Australia)

2006

Stewart (Devolution)

Worldhood

Garry Stewart

Australian Dance Theatre

Adelaide (Australia)

2011

Stewart (Self)

Be Your Self

Garry Stewart

Australian Dance Theatre

Adelaide (Australia)

2013

Stewart (Proximity)

Proximity

Garry Stewart

Australian Dance Theatre

Adelaide (Australia)

2013

Stewart (Multiverse)

Multiverse

Garry Stewart

Australian Dance Theatre

Adelaide (Australia)

2014

Stewart (Nature)

The Beginning of Nature

Garry Stewart

Australian Dance Theatre

Adelaide (Australia)

2018

McGregor (Aeon)

Aeon

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2000

McGregor (Nemesis)

Nemesis

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2001

McGregor (Sequences)

Polar Sequences

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2003

McGregor (AtaXia)

AtaXia

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2004

McGregor (Amu)

Amu

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2005

McGregor (Erazor)

Erazor

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2006

McGregor (Entity)

Entity

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2008

McGregor (1909)

Dyad 1909

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2009

McGregor (FAR)

FAR

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2010

McGregor (UNDANCE)

UNDANCE

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2011

McGregor (Self)

Future Self

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

Berlin (Germany)

2012

McGregor (Room)

Rain Room

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2012

McGregor (Azimtuh)

Azimuth

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2013

McGregor (Atomos)

Atomos

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2013

McGregor (MOVEment)

MOVEment

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2015

McGregor (Codes)

Tree of Codes

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2015

McGregor (Autobiography)

Autobiography

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2017

McGregor (Collection)

In Residence: Zabludowicz Collection

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2017

McGregor (Case)

Winged Bull in the Elephant Case

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2018

McGregor (Forms)

Bach Forrms

Wayne McGregor

Studio Wayne McGregor

London (UK)

2018

Jones (Project)

The Table Project

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Minneapolis (USA)

2001

Jones (Power/Full)

Power/Full

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Ravenna (Italy)

2002

Jones (Were)

There Were…

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

2002

Jones (Kurtag)

World II (18 Movements to Kurtag)

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Lee (USA)

2002

Jones (Suzanne)

Black Suzanne

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Iowa (USA)

2002

Jones (WITHOUT/IN)

WORLD WITHOUT/IN

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Iowa (USA)

2002

Jones (Verbum)

Verbum

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Iowa (USA)

2002

Jones (Circle)

Mercy 10×8 on a Circle

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

New York City (USA)

2003

Jones (Evening)

Another Evening

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

New York City (USA)

2003

Jones (Saying)

As I Was Saying

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Minneapolis (USA)

2005

Jones (Date)

Blind Date

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

New York City (USA)

2005

Jones (Down)

Another Evening: I Bow Down

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

New York City (USA)

2006

Jones (Chapel/Chapter)

Chapel/Chapter

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

New York City (USA)

2006

Jones (Pair)

A Quarreling Pair

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Montclair (USA)

2007

Jones (Migrations)

100 Migrations

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Virginia (USA)

2008

Jones (Proposition)

Serenade/The Proposition

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Durham (USA)

2008

Jones (Pray)

Fondly Do We Hope… Fervently Do We Pray

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Highland Parks (USA)

2009

Jones (Venice/Arsenale)

Another Evening: Venice/Arsenale

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Venice (Italy)

2010

Jones (Story/Time)

Story/Time

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

Montclair (USA)

2014

Jones (Nephew)

A Letter to my Nephew

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company

New York City (USA)

2017

The focus was on works these choreographers made for their own companies. The study period was from 2000 to 2018, during this period all four choreographers also guest composed works for international companies beyond their own. Therefore, this survey of fifty-eight works is possibly representative of creative processes engaged with by professional dance companies more generally during this period. Video documentation was used, photographs of performances, and reviews of the four choreographers web-sites. The survey scheme was revised a few times to obtain empirical data as detailed as possible. (Table 3 compiles the new technologies used within each choreography. While Table 4 overviews use of new technologies by year.)

Table 3

Survey of the new technologies used in the analyzed dance creations made in the XXI century among the cases of study. Abbreviations according to Table 2, the order follows the new technologies from most to least used

Choreography

(Continued)

LD

SD

VD

CD

SoD

Rob

ME

3D-MS

3D-
CIT

3D-G

LI

AI

MI

Total

Choreography

LD

SD

VD

CD

SoD

Rob

ME

3D-MS

3D-
CIT

3D-G

LI

AI

MI

Total

Stopiello (Rosenkruetz)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Stopiello (DEVO)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Stopiello (Rien)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Stopiello (Memory)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Stopiello
(Surfacing)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Stopiello
([R]evolutions)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Stopiello (Loopdiver)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Stopiello (Swarm)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

4

Dawn Stopiello

8

5

8

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

 

Stewart
(Birdbrain)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Stewart
(Unbeauty)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Stewart (HELD)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

3

Stewart
(Nascent)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Stewart
(Birdbrain)

X

X

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Stewart
(Devolution)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Stewart (Self)

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Stewart
Proximity)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Stewart
(Multiverse)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

4

Stewart
(Nature)

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Garry Stewart

10

6

7

0

0

1

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

 

McGregor (Aeon)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

McGregor (Nemesis)

X

 

X

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

McGregor (Sequences)

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

McGregor (AtaXia)

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

McGregor (Amu)

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

McGregor (Erazor)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

McGregor (Entity)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

3

McGregor (1909)

X

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

McGregor (FAR)

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

McGregor (UNDANCE)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

McGregor (Self)

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

3

McGregor (Room)

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

2

McGregor (Azimtuh)

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

3

McGregor (Atomos)

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

3

McGregor (MOVEment)

X

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

McGregor (Codes)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

McGregor (Autobiography)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

McGregor (Collection)

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

McGregor (Case)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

McGregor (Forms)

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Wayne Mcgregor

20

10

9

3

0

0

1

1

1

0

1

2

0

 

Jones (Project)

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Jones (Power/Full)

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Jones (Were)

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Jones (Kurtag)

X

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Jones
(Suzanne)

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Jones
(WITHOUT/IN)

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Jones
(Verbum)

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Jones (Circle)

X

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Jones
(Evening)

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Jones
(Saying)

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Jones (Date)

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Jones (Down)

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Jones (Chapel/
Chapter)

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Jones (Pair)

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

Jones
(Migrations)

X

X

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Jones
(Proposition)

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

Jones (Pray)

X

 

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Jones (Venice/Arsenale)

X

X

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Jones (Story/Time)

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Jones
(Nephew)

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Bill T. Jones

20

14

6

14

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

Table 4

Survey of the new technologies used in the analyzed dance creations made in the XXI century over the study period of time. The order follows the new technologies from most to least used

Choreography

(Continued)

LD

SD

VD

CD

SoD

Rob

ME

3D-MS

3D-
CIT

3D-G

LI

AI

MI

Total

Year

LD

SD

VD

CD

SoD

Rob

ME

3D-MS

3D-
CIT

3D-G

LI

AI

MI

Total

2000

3

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

6

2001

4

1

3

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

9

2002

7

5

1

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

18

2003

4

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

2004

3

2

2

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

8

2005

4

2

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

10

2006

5

5

3

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

15

2007

1

1

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

2008

3

2

2

1

2

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

11

2009

3

1

3

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

10

2010

2

2

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

6

2011

2

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

2012

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

5

2013

4

4

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

0

11

2014

2

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

7

2015

2

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

2016

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2017

3

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

6

2018

4

2

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

10

Total

58

35

30

16

5

1

1

2

1

1

1

2

1

 

Reflections on the survey

The survey process revealed the impact of new technologies in the creative process and exploration of the moving-body through choreography. The combination of new technology and dance embodied an ontological challenge to what it means to Be in Place (Akinleye, 2019). Where the dance/dancer ends and begins is a choreographic statement but also an orientation to describing Being-in-environment, as explored in pragmatism (Dewey & Boydston, 2008) or phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty, 2002)1. We have taken the ontological standpoint that the dancer’s body is a structure that is porous to dance, thus dance happens within through and beyond the dancer´s body (from a phenomenological perspective see Merleau-Ponty, 2002; from a pragmatist perspective see Dewey, 1958).

‘…They live, that is, as much in processes across and “through” skins as in processes “within” skins.’ (Dewey and Boydston, 2008 p. 119)

If ‘they’ are the choreographies and ‘skins’ are of the dancers, Pragmatist John Dewey suggested the poetics of the dances we observed. The offer of Self beyond oneSelf becomes a fragility, strength and confrontation across the choreographies in the study, mirroring 21st century questions of identity and networks of humanity that are global political challenges today.

Reflecting specifically on the technology used; light design (LD) is present in all the fifty-eight choreographies and has become an essential tool since Loie Fuller’s pioneering Western creation of the Serpentine Dance (1891). Set design (SD) in thirty-five, as well as Video Design (VD) in thirty, are the new technologies most used, and therefore we considered these as key locations at this point in the development of the digital aesthetic on the dance staged space in the 21st century. However, the use of robotics (Rob) in Devolution (Stewart, 2006) or the 3D graphics (3D-G) in Multiverse (Stewart, 2014), indicate developments in how the dancer extends and is interactive out into the staged space. (see figure 1 – Bar charts of the Use of New Technologies used in the Dance creations made in the XXI century, a] By Cases of Study, b] By years through the study period of time. Abbreviations according to Table 2)

Figure 1

Eight pieces developed by Stopello between 2000 and 2018 were examined. Over this period, she has used four types of new technologies. Since 2003, LD, SD, VD, are present in all her choreographic works. However, her latest piece, Swarm, which Stopello’s web-site describes as ‘currently under development’ (Troika Ranch, accessed 2019), includes a multimedia installation (MI). Stopello’s creative process seems to be shaped by a progression in the use of new technologies, first two (LD, VD) between The chemical wedding of Christian Rosenkruetz (2000) and Reine Rien (2001) then three (LD, SD, VD) between Future of Memory (2003) and Loopdiver (2009), and currently four (LD, VD, SD, MI) in Swarm (2018).

Ten works created by Stewart over almost two decades (2000-2018) were viewed. Stewart used six from our typologies. He has been a pioneer in the use of robotics (Rob) in Devolution (2006), 3D moving set (3D-MS) in HELD (2002), which was used later also by McGregor (Entity, 2008) and 3D graphics (3D-G) in Multiverse (2014)2, In terms of his choreographic process, Stewart, like Stopello, started with two different types (LD, VD in 2000), however since the opening of The Age of Unbeauty (2002), he began an intense research process, using an average of three new technologies for each piece. Unlike Stopiello, he has not had an upward progression of types of New Technology engagement. For instance, he only uses one (LD) in his most recent work The Beginning of Nature (2018).

Twenty pieces from Wayne McGregor were examined. His work engaged with nine typologies (see Table 1). McGregor has created pioneering collaborations between dance and costume design (CD) in Dyad 1909 (2009), mechanical extensions (ME) in Nemesis (2001), 3D creative informatic tool (3D-CIT) in Atomos (2013), light installation (LI) in Future Self (2012) and art installation in Rain Room (2012). Nonetheless, the survey gives an impression that currently McGregor is less interested in exploring beyond the new technologies he used at the beginning of this decade, since from MOVEment (2015), he has been working with the same four new technologies alternately (LD, SD, VD, CD). In his last piece, Bach Forms (2018), McGregor incorporated the concept of the mathematical equations within The Art of Fugue of J.S. Bach, as McGregor considered it a stimulus for the human condition and therefore, a starting point on which to create this work (Studio Wayne McGregor, accessed 2019).

Bill T. Jones is a pioneering artist with a longevity of works dating back to 1970s. we looked at twenty pieces created between 2000 and 2018. It should be noted not all Jones choreographic creations use ‘new technology’, for this research there was a focus on the works where New Technology is used. Of Jones’s works that were surveyed his key uses are LD, SD, VD, he has also used remarkable costume design (CD) in the majority of his pieces, as well as being a pioneer in the use of sound design (SoD) in A Quarreling Pair (2007). In Serenade/The Proposition (2008) and A Quarreling Pair (2007), Jones used LD, SD, VD, CD. As with Stapiello and Stewart, Jones started using only two different types (LD, SD) in The Table Project (2001). He explored more typologies in his following works using an average of four new technologies for each piece. The most recent creation looked at by Jones, A Letter to my Nephew (2017), he has only used two (LD, VD).

The four artists highlight that technological development can be seen as a fundamental motor of progress and stimuli in the geographical locations they create in. Technological inventions not only shape ways of life, but also change the mentality of millions of people, offering new understandings of what it is to be of the world. Dance is not disconnected from technological advances. Consequently, the type of transdisciplinary creative processes portrayed in the survey blur the lines between research and practice in the artistic process (Tornero, 2013). The development and exchange of ideas alongside these productive collaborations which bring scientists, engineers and artists together is reminiscent of Europe’s Renaissance period. This was a time when what is to be human was redefined (Wynter, 2003), echoing ethical and ontological questions that new technologies solicit today. The artists’ collaborations with laboratories such as the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts (Stopello), the Motion Lab in Melbourne (Stewart) or the University of California in San Diego (McGregor) are tasked with how scientists and artists respond to the social political implications of creative knowledges, locations and resources as well as the performance art of originality and effectiveness (Runco & Jaeger, 2012).

Conclusion:
New aesthetics &
New Technologies

The great acceleration of scientific and technological progress in the 21st Century has permeated our society so deeply, that we have entered a new era: the digital era (Salter, 2010). Choreographers and dancers have played an essential role in the incorporation of new media such as software or interfaces on stage (Boerisch, 2006). The fifty-eight works in the survey illustrate that in the choreographic process the relationship between art and science is transactional. Creativity seems to make perceived borders between art and science permeable or even arbitrary. The genius of the choreographers in the study has made tangible, through their work, the idea that the creative process is the product of our technology and imagination (Tornero, 2013). What makes these dance artists influential today is that their work is seen as innovative and visionary. The eminence of these choreographers is that they are simultaneously innovator, researcher, and body – fabricating new technologies through the aesthetic and felt experience of moving in space. This art/science involves the discovery of humanness (Simó, 2013), and the comprehensions of the ontology of the human being in universe that the performance work makes palpable in movement.

Within the dance field, the blurry unification of art/science challenges choreographers, dancers, and audiences to reimagine each other. McGregor, Stewart, Stapiello and Jones create dance and in so doing capture an aesthetic that is changing (Oikonomou, 2012) where the role of environment is alive and interactional, and the role of creator is across the witnessing and doing of the moment of the performance. Dance-artists in 21st Century are exploring the boundaries of new technologies, manifesting hybrid art forms that are wider, richer and more diverse (Brooks, 2008). The choreographer moves down a path that forces critics, scholars and dancers, themselves, to redefine their understanding of the art form. A place where the sciences, the arts and the humanities share a common space of exchange offers the possibility of encounters with each other that allow us to be reflective, hopeful and open to what we can create together. The global collaboration of how we move in new technology offers us the opportunity to dance together, to explore how ‘I’ can end and begin in the global ‘we’ that is the 21st century.

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1 It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss here however reflections drawn from the survey have indicated the direction for our own deliberation and choreographic exploration currently.

2 Multiverse is one of Stewart’s most known pieces, having toured globally, with a great success both of critic and public (Australian Dance Theatre, 1999)