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Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Future of Live Performance & Technology

Only months after they wowed us with their video presented to the Olympic Committee, versatile Japanese troupe "Enra" has done it again with their latest piece entitled "Pleiades".  The group magnificently blends the elements of dance, performance art, music, technology, light, music and more. The director Nobuyuki Hanabusa handles the music and directing, while dancers Saya Watatani and Mak Yokoyama perform their choreographed piece with magical precision.

Peering into the future, I predict we will see an increasing amount of these types of collaborative
partnerships. Dancers will not only work with other dancers and choreographers, but will have to learn to work directly with lighting designers, 3D animators, and other multi-media specialists in order to create exciting and innovative stage work. A whole new genre of entertainment is being created as the limits of live performance and technology are being pushed to new heights.

What I particularly enjoyed about this piece is how the technology does not take away from the dancer's beauty but actually enhances it.  It's clear that the dancers are technically swift as they hit every mark, blending seamlessly into the whole image.  Not separate or disconnected, the dancers bring alive the one idea resulting in a mesmerizing performance.

It would be fascinating to see how this multi-disciplinary troupe works and how their creative process unfolds in shaping these pieces. Are the images and lighting crafted first and then the dancers choreograph on it? Or is it the performers and music that inspire the images and lighting?  However it transpires, one thing is for sure.  Every person involved needs to be incredibly accurate in their timing and execution because we all know that one bad arm movement or leg extension can instantly throw off the whole performance.

Luckily "Enra" gets it right and in doing so, has offered us a glimpse of the (bright) future of live performance technology.


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