In this episode we talk to Roswitha Chesher and Alexander Whitley about digital dance and technology.
Both started their careers with dance training – film maker and photographer Roswitha Chesher at Trinity Laban and choreographer Alexander Whitley at the Royal Ballet School – but they’ve both moved into exploring dance in different formats – on camera, screen and using digital technology.
Whilst it’s true to say that over the past year many of us have been on a crash course when it comes to digital and dance, in contrast these two artists have been working within the digital sphere for years and so we decided to invite them on to talk a little bit more about what it is that excites them and find out how we can all learn to explore and use digital technologies more effectively.
We begin by discussing the journey we have been on as a sector which has evolved pretty quickly from the kickstart reaction of many to share back-catalogue documentation to the kind of immersive experience offered recently by Rambert with Rooms. Given their familiarity of the digital space and their enviable access to high quality equipment we also probed a little into whether they themselves had felt creative during covid and how they had reacted either individually or as a company to the challenges of the past year.
Alex shares his interest in technologies such as virtual and augmented reality and the potential this is offering him and his company to explore new ways of making and presenting work. And Roswitha shares some of the lessons learnt from thirty years making dance on screen. She reflects upon how of late so much of the material she has been asked to work with has been made on the very small (mobile phone) screen. Together we reflect upon how the luxury so many of us experience of having this technology in our back pockets can be deployed creatively when used with thought, care and skill.
We talk about the ability to curate an environment when making theatrical work and how in digital this translates to much more nuanced experiences such as directing the focus and the eye. And we talk about the ways in which technology and dance on screen can be used in hybrid formats to create completely new cultural environments which are no longer as simple as a choice between theatre or TV…