Nanaimo Dance Festival Deploys AR For Long-distance Duets
AR For Long-distance Duets

Nanaimo Dance Festival Deploys AR For Long-distance Duets

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An upcoming dance festival is set to unite dancers separated by continents and oceans in these times of social distancing through some exciting tech.

The 23rd annual Infringing Dance Festival by Nanaimo’s Crimson Coast Dance Society will be hosted online and in-person from July 8 to 11. Crimson Coast artistic director Holly Bright said she desired to bring together events that foster personal connection, community connection, and even international connection.

The festival will feature daily morning rituals, dance films, dance music broadcast downtown, and a silent disco. In addition, the organizers have deployed augmented reality to unite dancers in Nanaimo and Europe for an art tour and a dance production.

“We spent the last year exploring all manner of program delivery from recorded streaming to live streaming to mixing live and pre-recorded streaming and … we’ve just explored so many of the very cool platforms that are available and ways to imagine making connections online,” said Bright. “And we’ve also explored a lot of the innovations that have been transpiring.”

The augmented reality performance, called Motus Domum, has been made possible through a collaboration between Crimson Coast and a Montreal team comprising a dancer, a musician, and a software developer.

The performance is a duet wherein one dancer will be located in Nanaimo and the other one in Montreal. For those attending the in-person event, it would appear as if one dancer is performing solo on the stage, but the second dancer would appear as an avatar when viewed through a device.

“It’ll look solo if you weren’t using your device,” Bright explained. “And if you are, you’ll see him dancing with her, and he kind of looks like a particle body. The shape of a body with many particles.”

“We can’t see the duet yet we know it’s happening, and so we just get to experience that,” she added. “And in some ways, it kind of reflects on the question of a hummingbird’s wings, or a dancer’s wings, flapping in Berlin to whether it affects us here.”

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