Innovation That Matters

VR performance

Dance performance uses VR to create immersive experience

Publishing & Media

A new performance piece combines dance and VR to give viewers the perspective of a speck of dust floating through the performance

With a new performance piece, the world of dance has moved into the world of high tech. Dust is a virtual reality contemporary dance performance in which the audience uses VR headsets to experience the performance from the perspective of a particle travelling in space. Dust was created by Mária Júdová and Andrej Boleslavský, two Prague-based artists who have been working for more than a decade on exploring technology-informed dance practices.

The four-minute-long dance piece was created using a Kinect depth sensor and custom software to capture volumetric recordings of the performers from a variety of angles. At the same time, 3D backgrounds were created using hundreds of photos of building interiors. RealityCapture software and VVVV was used to complete the rendering. The result was a high-resolution 3D virtual model of the performance which allowed observers wearing VR headsets to completely immerse themselves in the performance, experiencing it from the point of view of a speck of dust floating freely through the performance space.

The concept of Dust was inspired by the way that the elements that form life on earth ultimately come from the stars, and from exploring our place in the universe. It also developed from a desire to engage the audience through creative partnerships between performing arts and technology. Says choreographer Boleslavský, “As an improvisational tool, VR can inspire creative movements; as an educational tool, it can record choreography and encourage public engagement, and, for us, it is a tool for endless artistic expression.”

Takeaway: VR has already been used to allow virtual exploration of an artists’ studio and to allow designers to collaborate in a virtual world. In blurring the boundary between audience and performers through immersive technology, VR opens up a whole new world of entertainment and creative arts. Will the future of theatre and dance include more immersive VR experiences?

This innovation has also been featured in the report ‘The Future of Immersive Content’, which was inspired by recent research conducted by our partner Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre. Download the full report here.




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