Over the last two years, DanceEast have been working in collaboration with BT and a range of partners on a ground-breaking project entitled 5G Edge-XR. The ambition was to create dynamic new digital tools to enhance dance education to enable every child access to extraordinary interactive dance teaching.
The result is a giant step forward for digital dance. The technology partners have employed a cutting-edge technology, volumetric capture to create 3D photo realistic holograms of dancers that can be experienced in real time anywhere that has a high-volume internet access. The result is that the image of a dancer working in the Jerwood DanceHouse can be watched in a school in rural Suffolk, or a theatre anywhere in the world.
DanceEast have been working with Tom Hobden, one of the world’s best dance educators, and Alexander Whitley, a cutting-edge contemporary dance choreographer, to bring the project to life. Tom’s specialist knowledge of dance pedagogies paired with Alexander’s digitally inspired choreography has aided increased levels of pupil engagement and active participation within the wider primary curriculum.
5G Edge-XR re-imagines how we engage with cultural events such as dance, theatre, sport and music by enriching experiences through augmented and mixed reality applications. Made accessible to all through everyday devices such as smartphones and tablets as well as the latest augmented reality (AR) headsets, audiences can immerse themselves in the action from any perspective.
Brendan Keaney OBE, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of DanceEast said: “Witnessing this technology working is almost unbelievable, I never imagined that this kind of technology would be available in my lifetime. I have no doubt that this development will transform the way we work over the next decade, but this is not just an exciting development for our organisation, this represents a giant step forward for the wider world of Dance.”
Alexander Whitley said: “The collaboration with BT and DanceEast has provided a fascinating early insight into next-generation technologies which are set to influence the future of media, performance and education. Capturing and streaming the moving body in its full three dimensions with photo-realistic accuracy explodes the possibilities for dance performance, liberating it from the constraints of place and proximity and enabling new forms of creation, distribution and engagement. Using Augmented Reality technologies to place this volumetrically-captured movement in real world environments and integrate it with other layers of digital visuals and information presents genuinely game-changing possibilities for observing, explaining, teaching and learning dance. This head start in getting to grips with new technologies such as these is invaluable when the creative opportunities they present are so often accompanied by numerous challenges, so I’m soberly excited about working with them in more depth and learning what it means for the future of dance.”
Tom Hobden said: “We’re at a point now where our digital lives and physical lives are unavoidably blending, and the current AR and XR technology is propelling us to explore a digital dance pedagogy. Our research at DanceEast has been pioneering and has led to multiple solutions to bring high quality dance education to every child, as well as professional performances in compelling 3D that bring digital natives in to dance.”
Witnessing this technology working is almost unbelievable, I never imagined that this kind of technology would be available in my lifetime. I have no doubt that this development will transform the way we work over the next decade, but this is not just an exciting development for our organisation, this represents a giant step forward for the wider world of Dance.Brendan Keaney, OBE, Artistic Director and CEO, DanceEast