News: New Virtual Reality dance experience Facades heads on tour

New virtual reality (VR) dance experience Facades will premiere at Phoenix, Leicester in October before touring to BOM, Birmingham, and Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham, in November. This surreal and immersive VR dance piece invites the audience to walk the line between reality and illusion in a beautiful yet unsettling narrative drawing on iconic scenes from classic movies including The Wizard of Oz, The Truman Show and Rear Window.

Facades explores how virtual intimacy can be fostered between the visiting spectator and virtual performer as they embark on a VR dance journey together. The piece takes the audience on a journey that can only be achieved in virtual space, using new volumetric capturing techniques to create interactive, realistic, animated dancers in a virtual 3D space. The participant becomes both spectator and performer, protagonist and voyeur in this unusual dance between them and the VR dancer. Each atmospheric dance is performed in a different domestic setting and the audience can move through rooms and scenes with the VR performer, exploring ideas of boundaries and reality as they go.

Choreographed and performed by Kerryn Wise (Studio Wayne McGregor Questlab Digital Dance Artist 2018-19; Dis-place, Broadway Media Centre and The People’s Hall), Facades has been co-created by Creative Technologist Ben Neal, whose work has previously been seen at the Victoria & Albert Museum and Somerset House.

Choreographer and performer Kerryn Wise commented: “The choreography explores domesticity and different emotions through stylised gestural movement, creating intimate and unsettling atmospheres. The process of choreographing for volumetric capture is different to usual studio-based work, as you have to consider how the viewer will be able to see the dancer from any angle in the virtual space. We wanted to explore how the viewer can experience dance in the VR environment, which allows them to see unusual perspectives of the dancing body.”

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