Friday, July 29, 2011

Pilobolus gets techie and what does that mean?

So I'm passing along the link if you haven't seen it to, the newest OK Go video where the band plus Pilobolus dancers do all sorts of fun kaleidoscopic dance-y things in multiple browser windows. It was hard to get it to load yesterday when it had just come out because of traffic to the site, though some is also local in that it's resource heavy. It only works on Google Chrome so you have to have that downloaded.
So this is the sort of creative thing you can do with dance online! It's a music video, but interactive. (I was curious if they also did Japanese characters for messages?) All this goes along with a question I left the Dance/USA conference with, if the whole cultural phenomenon of staged concert dance isn't something of a dinosaur. Not sure that was meant to be the message of it all, but the whole arc of what I heard sort of landed me there. Lots about how fast technology is changing (entire libraries of information every day...) and although most people in a big audience survey said they prefer to see dance live, something like 60% were dancers themselves (at least recreationally). So if people don't dance themselves, they're much less likely to want to go see dance. (Well, sort of knew that anecdotally.) But if you never do anything but sit behind a computer (like I do. Here I am! sigh) how do you ever want to get up and dance yourself, and then subsequently, go see other people dance? There was a fantastic keynote by Pico Iyer that talked about dance as a sanctuary, something outside all this avalanche of technology and information. But how do you even know you crave the chance for something authentic if you don't ever try it? My two year old has been refusing to taste new things to the point of throwing fits about having to even take one bite of something new, even when she it's something that she likes once she tries it. How much is the same (though much less vociferous) with people trying new things like going to that first dance performance? And you can give up if they really don't like "peas" and the first show they go to is nothing but. In the over-crowded world of options vying for our attention, I just don't know how much "try it, you'll like it" is going to work!
Also, concert dance is a very expensive thing to pull off (not that hiring camera crews and web developers etc. is cheap either) so as our economic situation continues to stink, justifying the costs of producing a stage performance starts to look more difficult. Can't you just stream it all over your phone and be done with it?
But please, argue with me, defend concert dance in the 21st century (and beyond). I'm still very involved in concert dance myself (in lots of ways), so I have to defend it! To answer my own question (so I don't leave this on a down note) I can offer my perspective on how the energy is much more powerful seeing dance live--no matter how skillfully it's recorded, something is lost in translation over the screen. I would also say that the stage gives a platform and goal for attaining and showcasing skill that wouldn't exist if we all stuck to gyrating awkwardly in social situations. So we will continue to dance away in our own little corner of the sub-culture and deal with what it means. We know we have to do it--it's part of who we are. We're dancers.
And on a a positive note, here's my message to sign off :)

No comments:

Post a Comment