Nanaimo dancer Chantelle Ristine performs Motus Domum, an augmented reality dance by Montreal team OZP, as part of this year’s Infringing Dance Festival. The upcoming ‘Our Hybrid Future’ symposium examines the ways performing artists have turned to technology during the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Kitty Chadwick)

Nanaimo dancer Chantelle Ristine performs Motus Domum, an augmented reality dance by Montreal team OZP, as part of this year’s Infringing Dance Festival. The upcoming ‘Our Hybrid Future’ symposium examines the ways performing artists have turned to technology during the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Kitty Chadwick)

Nanaimo’s Crimson Coast Dance Society hosts symposium on dance and technology

Online series ‘Our Hybrid Future’ takes place over three weeks in September

An upcoming symposium is exploring the ways technology and the performing arts have come together and the innovations that have emerged in response to COVID-19.

When pandemic restrictions came into place in March 2020, Nanaimo’s Crimson Coast Dance Society had about a week to retool its spring youth dance camp from in-person to online. Since then Crimson Coast has been presenting its programs using new technologies, but at first it was a challenge for artists and presenters.

“We were all trying to learn how to deliver programming online. We had no idea at Crimson Coast. It was just not on our radar,” Crimson Coast artistic director Holly Bright said. “And I never in a million years would have thought that I would be fascinated enough to actually find it a very fun, engaging and hopeful diversion, if you will, during this time and really a complement to what we’ve been presenting all along.”

Next month Crimson Coast is reflecting on how technology and performance have collided in Our Hybrid Future, a series of online presentations featuring discussions with professionals working in the performing arts and technology fields.

Bright is co-hosting the symposium and said it aims to “shine the light on what is positive and what is hopeful in terms of digital technology and live performance.” The talks will cover three topics: artists, or “the work,” technology, or “how it works,” and audience engagement, or “who is seeing the work, and how?”

Bright said the symposium is both an industry event for professionals to learn about new innovations and how to deliver programming, as well as an opportunity for the general public to become more familiar and be a part of the conversation.

Bright said turning to online and virtual technologies has made Crimson Coast’s programs more accessible and has allowed local artists to amplify their voices on the world stage. She said it’s been “magical.”

“It kind of provided a spark and a layer of magic that is weaving into the transportation that performing arts offers audiences anyway,” Bright said. “So it’s adding this layer of wonder and transformation.”

WHAT’S ON … Our Hybrid Future online symposium takes place on Sept. 9, 16 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Registration $25 or $45 for three-day package at http://crimsoncoastdance.org.

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