Rice Cakes. River. Tangos Cubanos.

Research output: Non-textual outputPerformance

Abstract

Rice Cakes, River and Tangos Cubanos are three closely related choreographies by Billy Cowie using live performance and its transformation into stereoscopic film to investigate the fusion of dance traditions through experimental practice. Drawing on his specialist understanding of screendance, Cowie tested how fusion could be achieved through cinematic approaches and recording technologies alongside live dance performance, and how this translates to new forms of digitally preserved danceworks. He asked how stereoscopically recorded dance highlights some of the shared ground of international dance traditions and considered techniques and technologies that allowed new understandings of these fusions.

The choreographies explored new contextual meanings for traditional forms such as the tango or the Odissi dance, examining the integration of storytelling elements in fused dance tradition, how narrative could inform cross-cultural engagement, and where the cultural knowledge shared by performer and audience dictated dance movements. The works developed an experimental alternative to the shared repertoire of symbolic gestures available in the dance forms. All three works broadened current stereoscopic screendance practice, extending the form through the presentation of life-size performers. Together they provide insights into forms of cultural and methodological fusion, bringing examples from diverse cultures to new choreographies and paying close attention to the balance of narrative and visual techniques, the use of metaphor and symbol, and the potential shift of audience perception between live and digital versioning.

Rice Cakes and River were premiered as shutter vision stereoscopic installations in London (2015) and live in Edinburgh (2015). Tangos Cubanos was premiered in Havana (2015) and then revised for tour to Bonn and Moscow (2016). A three-dimensional version of the work was installed in Germany and Spain (2017-19).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGran Teatro de La Habana, Cuba
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2015

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