The Latest: Mobile Moves
Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company helped develop Bounden. Photo by marlieswessels.nl, Courtesy Game Oven Studios.
“We make games that make you sweat,” reads the Twitter bio of Game Oven Studios, a small mobile-software company in the Netherlands. Its newest app, Bounden, started with a simple observation: Smartphone technology is perfect for recording and manipulating choreography because instruments inside can track the phone’s movement and acceleration. Meanwhile, more than 3,500 miles away in New York City, 2wice Arts Foundation made a related discovery: “The digital tablet is a new kind of stage,” says art director Abbott Miller.
Above: Passe-Partout in action. Photo by Rachel Neville, Courtesy PMK BNC.
The results of both are apps that allow audiences to interact with dance in ways they never have before, literally putting the choreographic process into the hands of anyone with a smartphone or tablet. Bounden, developed by Game Oven co-founder Bojan Endrovski and designer Adriaan de Jongh, with help from choreographer Ernst Meisner and Dutch National Ballet Junior Company dancers, is an iPhone/Android game for two players. Each grabs one end of the device, working together to keep the phone moving along the path shown on the screen. It forces participants to solve problems through partnering, while threading the phone around each other’s bodies.
2wice’s Passe-Partout for iPad is interactive in a different way. Released in June as the foundation’s third dance-related app, it features New York City Ballet dancers Justin Peck, who also choreographed the movement, and Daniel Ulbricht. The user layers and arranges video recordings of the men dancing to create their own piece. Each clip of music and dance is unique; the fun comes from noticing what echoes, harmonies and contrasts different combinations reveal.
It’s certainly easy to imagine how puzzling together movement through these apps might spark choreographic “aha” moments for dancers and non-dancers alike. “It’s not even so much about dance, for me,” says 2wice president Patsy Tarr. “I’m very seriously interested in choreography.” Miller agrees: “These apps are lifting the veil so people can see the mechanics of choreography at work.”