Monday, 27 March 2017

Pacific Northwest Ballet experiments with Virtual Reality

Standard YouTube Licence

I have already mentioned experiments by the Royal Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet with virtual reality ("VR") in Virtual Reality in Ballet 13 Sept 2016. The latest company to try the technology is Pacific Northwest Ballet ("PNB") which has collaborated with Pixvana Inc ("Pixvana"), a Seattle software startup building a video creation and delivery platform for the emerging mediums of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality ("XR") to create Silent Resonance which appears above.

The video was directed by Scott Squires. Pixvana's CTO, Creative Director and Co-Founder who has a long and successful history in digital production technology (see the About page on Pixvana's website) and choreographed by Price Suddarth, one of the company's artists. The dancers in the video are Emma Love Suddarth and Miles Pertl. The music is Lost in Space by Max Richter.

According to the joint press release by PNB and Pixvana, this collaboration is the result of an effort by PNB's artistic director, Peter Boal, to leverage technology to reach new audiences. There is more information on the work including an interview with Suddarth in New Release: Silent Resonance and
Ballet Lovers Discover VR at Pointe to the Stars on Pixvana's website. Pointe to the Stars is a fundraising event for PNB Stars, a volunteer organization made up of energetic women who are dedicated to the support of PNB through special events, fundraising, scholarship support and member education. Moneys raised by that organization support talented young dancers from the United States and elsewhere through their studies at the PNB School. Readers anywhere in the world can contribute to that worthwhile project through the company's Donate page and I invite them to do so.

PNB describes itself as "one of the largest and most highly regarded ballet companies in the United States" It has 47 dancers (about the same size as Northern Ballet) and gives 100 performances every year. It is based in Seattle where the Microsoft Corporation and many other high-tech businesses are located and tours extensively within the USA and abroad.

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