GoPros: No Longer Just for Snowboarders

We all knew it was bound to happen eventually, but now it's official: GoPros have made their way onto dancers.

 

These trendy cameras that attach to bodies have recorded nearly every activity from snowboarding to off-road motorcycle racing. Now, they are being used to capture the experience of dancing. There are already some amazing (and odd) videos of dancers with GoPros up on Vimeo and YouTube. But the first performance I've heard about that's incorporating GoPros into the work itself is happening next month in Brooklyn. In NEON BRAVE, four performers from white road Dance Media will each wear a GoPro so that real-time footage can be projected onto the set while they dance. The idea is that the audience will be able to experience the piece from the dancer's point of view, and be immersed right into the middle of the choreography. Director/choreographer Marisa Gruneberg points out this will be particularly poignant during a nude solo: “There’s no better way to see the body's full expression, its vulnerabilities and beauties, its guts, than to see it nude and in motion. Being totally nude onstage is bravery in and of itself. Now the audience will experience that bravery as well.”

 

Personally, what I'd love to see is someone strap one of these on during "Black Swan." Any takers?

 

 

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Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West

How Do Choreographers Bring Something Fresh to Music We've Heard Over and Over?

In 2007, Oregon Ballet Theatre asked Nicolo Fonte to choreograph a ballet to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. "I said, 'No way. I'm not going near it,' " recalls Fonte. "I don't want to compete with the Béjart version, ice skaters or the movie 10. No, no, no!"

But Fonte's husband encouraged him to "just listen and get a visceral reaction." He did. And Bolero turned into one of Fonte's most requested and successful ballets.

Not all dance renditions of similar warhorse scores have worked out so well. Yet the irresistible siren song of pieces like Stravinsky's The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, as well as the perennial Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, seem too magnetic for choreographers to ignore.

And there are reasons for their popularity. Some were commissioned specifically for dance: Rite and Firebird for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; Boléro for dance diva Ida Rubinstein's post–Ballets Russes troupe. Hypnotic rhythms (Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel) and danceable melodies (Bizet's Carmen) make a case for physical eye candy. Audience familiarity can also help box office receipts. Still, many choreographers have been sabotaged by the formidable nature and Muzak-y overuse of these iconic compositions.

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