Crimson Coast Dance Society’s Infringing Dance Festival is back and this year it makes use of augmented reality to make dancers in different cities appear to share the same space. (Photo submitted)

Crimson Coast Dance Society’s Infringing Dance Festival is back and this year it makes use of augmented reality to make dancers in different cities appear to share the same space. (Photo submitted)

Nanaimo dance festival to feature long-distance duets and augmented reality

Crimson Coast Dance Society’s Infringing Dance Festival back in-person and online

At this time of social distancing, an upcoming dance festival will feature performances by some dance partners separated by continents and oceans.

Nanaimo’s Crimson Coast Dance Society presents its 23rd annual Infringing Dance Festival online and in-person from July 8 to 11. When organizing the festival, Crimson Coast artistic director Holly Bright said she looked for events that foster personal connection, community connection and even international connection.

Among the festivities are daily morning rituals, dance films, dance music broadcast downtown and a silent disco. Also happening are collaborations between dancers in Nanaimo and Europe and for the first time Crimson Coast is utilizing augmented reality with an art tour and a dance production.

“We spent the last year exploring all manner of program delivery from recorded streaming to live streaming to mixing live and pre-recorded streaming and … we’ve just explored so many of the very cool platforms that are available and ways to imagine making connection online,” Bright said. “And we’ve also explored a lot of the innovations that have been transpiring.”

The augmented reality performance, Motus Domum, is being done in partnership between Crimson Coast and a Montreal team including a dancer, a musician and a software developer. It’s a duet with one dancer in Nanaimo and the other in Montreal. For those attending the Nanaimo performance, it will appear the dancer is alone, but when viewed through a device the second dancer will appear in the form of a virtual avatar.

“It’ll look solo if you weren’t using your device,” Bright said. “And if you are, you’ll see him dancing with her and he kind of looks like a particle body. The shape of a body with many particles.”

While those dancers will be separated by four provinces, another production will see dancers separated by the Atlantic Ocean as Nanaimo’s Samantha Letourneau and Mårten Spångberg of Berlin perform together. The performance is called When Two People Look At A Distance We’re Already Half Way and Bright describes it as a “non-occular duet.”

“We can’t see the duet yet we know it’s happening and so we just get to experience that,” she said. “And in some ways it kind of reflects on the question of a hummingbird’s wings, or a dancer’s wings, flapping in Berlin to whether it affects us here.”

WHAT’S ON … Crimson Coast Dance Society’s 23rd Infringing Dance Festival takes place at multiple venues from July 8 to 11. For a list of events and buy tickets or register, click here.

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