Thanks, Skype. Dancers at the Tisch School of Arts at New York University can now connect with dance studios in South America, Europe or Japan. NOW is the name of this internet-based innovation that allows dancers to perform duets, as well as ensemble pieces, with partners from around the world.
In setting the “stage” for a duet, a student technician makes the Skype call – a bit of logistical suspense with every ring – before the dancers gave their names, locations and local time. NYU choreographer Pat Catterson wants her dancers to take their material phrases that sometimes wander into whimsy – and make them their own, a process that Skype facilitates and subtly alters. Occasionally, the physical virtual pairs moved in unison, their synchronization loosened by technological glitches as well as by idiosyncratic timing.
NOW “performances” (75-minute installations) have been described as one of those the-way-we-live-now kind of works, both homespun and high tech, with elements familiar and unsettlingly novel. Whatever it may be or eventually become, NOW is certainly an innovative example of how technology can support artistic collaboration on a global scale.