Get ready to witness a show, which will not just present the nuances of Contemporary dance but will also unfold as an illuminating choreographic essay, aptly christened Glow. Created by choreographer Gideon Obarzanek, founding and former artistic director of Australian dance company Chunky Move and interactive software creator Frieder Weiss, Glow will be staged in Mumbai for the first time in association with the Oz Fest, a festival celebrating the Australian culture in India.
“I was already interested in using video projection as a way of lighting dancers. When I met Frieder Weiss, who had been working on developing a system using the information of moving bodies to make real-time video graphics, lighting a dancer with video graphics so that it seems that their body is actually creating them, became a very exciting possibility,” says Obarzanek.
He explains that though the presentation is a solo dance but it is more of a duo — the dancer in relation to the light through which we see them, or the light that emanates from their body, becomes the second element. He elucidates further that rather than an antagonistic relationship between technology and the human body, the technology in this show is sympathetic, almost an extension of the body or imagined external images and action of what may be going on within.
While the dance movements with the lasers look splendid on stage, it takes a long time to create new choreography, says Obarzanek. “It is even more time-consuming with the coding required in the computer programming. Consequently progress is quite slow and requires a lot of patience. The final performance is just under half an hour, however it took us to create as long as it would a full-length work,” he adds.
Since, this is the first time Glow will be presented in India, the performance has been kept relatively short and a short film will also be added to the program, which will either be a documentary about Obarzanek and his company, or a short film he made a few years ago about women dancing like their fathers. The decision is yet to be taken.
Finally, when we quizzed him on whether video tracking aids dance and choreography, and will be the thing to look forward to in the future as well, the award-winning choreographer shares, “Historically, dance has always employed the technologies of its time and with video tracking, it is no exception.
While this technology is certainly impressive, on its own it is nothing more than a momentary spectacle. Like with music and conventional lighting, how we apply new technology and its relationship with the work is most important and this aspect of dance performance has never changed.”
On January 30 and 31, 7.30 pm onwards
At NCPA, Nariman Point.