Google's headquarters sounds like a pretty sweet place to work. But for dancers? Tech nerds (no offense) hovering over computers and algorithms doesn't seem like the most natural place for artistic exploration.
But the Martha Graham Dance Company is getting an opportunity to work with said tech nerds at Google's New York City offices, as part of a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture to explore some of the tech giant's latest projects.
The Graham Company—along with Graham 2 and Teens@Graham students—will be in residence at Google for two weeks, beginning April 30. Visual artist SoHyun Bae, media artist Tyler Henry, filmmaker Nancy Stevens and Google technologist Tom Small will also be collaborating with the dancers.
We don't know much about the technologies they'll be working with, except that they'll be using something called a Tilt Brush, a virtual reality tool that creates enormous 3-D paintings. Color us intrigued.
Graham and Google collaborated on this Google Doodle in 2012.
Graham may seem like an old-school choice to be experimenting with the most cutting edge technology. But this isn't the first time Google and Graham have collaborated. They launched an online exhibition together in 2015, which is basically a series of digital multi-media books exploring the history of the company.
"Our partnership with Google is a rare opportunity for a hands-on and wide-ranging exploration of the artistic possibilities offered by emerging technology," said Graham artistic director Janet Eilber in a press release. "We have high hopes that these experiments will result in some startling new artistic experiences for our audiences."
The cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise in rehearsal. Photo by Stephanie Berger, Courtesy The Shed
Akram Khan loves to dive into genres he is unfamiliar with. While his own movement vocabulary is a hybrid of kathak and contemporary dance, he has choreographed a new Giselle for English National Ballet, collaborated with flamenco artist Israel Galván and made a dance theater duet with film star Juliette Binoche. Now, in between touring Xenos, his final full-length solo, and several other projects, he's found time to tackle kung fu. Khan is part of the collaborative team behind Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a blockbuster musical based on themes of migration and the fight for survival, running June 22–July 27. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and featuring a score that remixes songs by Sia, it's part of the inaugural season of The Shed, a new venue in New York City.