Three days – Three cities – Three theatres. Infinite ways to imagine the future of dance.

DANSATHON was a connected, collaborative, European event to imagine the future of dance. It took place simultaneously in three large European cities: Liège, London and Lyon, as part of the Lyon Dance Biennale 2018. It was co-organised by BNP Paribas Foundation and three major Dance Institutions, one in each city – La Maison de la Danse de Lyon, Sadler’s Wells in London and Théâtre de Liège.

Ghislaine Boddington from body>data>space was the Lead Coach in London, working with the key producer Jia-Xuan Hon and a group of top level mentor-coaches; Goncalo Lopes, Ling Tan, Audrey Gaulard and Nikos Chandolias.

The DANSATHON bought together dancers, choreographers, creative technologists, designers, web developers, technicians of all kinds, makers, creators, students and start-ups – people who would not meet otherwise.

The 33 London participants were based at Plexal Innovation Centre at Here East from 28th to 30th September 2018 and, for 72 hours across all 3 cities, they worked in interdisciplinary teams to share this unique experience of co-creation, exploring the making and dissemination of dance through the use of new technologies. See participants here.

For this project Ghislaine used her well known methodology The Weave – an interdisciplinary collaboration process created for dance-tech projects in the early 90s by the Butterfly Effect and shinkansen. DANSATHON opened with Ghislaine’s lecture on the visions about the future human, the enhancement of our senses and our ongoing potential merge with digital technologies of today, giving a boost to teams in terms of innovative and topical thinking.

It was intensive 3 days of work for everyone, with each person working in deep collaboration within their teams. Each team could choose to work on one of the 5 themes focussing on different aspects of the integration of dance tech with the public, emphasising intimacy and connectivity. With space to dance, develop and create relevant technologies and support from coaches and facilitators, everyone worked intensively towards the final “fragment” outputs on the last day. These prototypes were shared with a jury and live audience in each city. In London, the type of outputs varied tremendously – installations, performances, immersion experiences, apps and site specific interactive architecture.

The London Jury, included CEO of Sadler’s Wells Alistair Spalding, choreographer Wayne McGregor and theatre critic Lynn Gardener. They selected the most inspiring project which they saw as the one having the most potential to be brought to the next level of creation. The winning teams in each city were rewarded with 10,000 Euros from BNP Paribas Foundation as seed funding and will benefit from the support of co-organising theatres to continue their work of creation.

Winning Team in London –Digital Umbilical, How Can Technology be Soulful?

This team was made up of Salomé Bazin, Lara Buffard, Simon Haenggi, Katelyn Notman, Jon Rowe, Adam Seid Tahir and Renaud Wiser. They created a project prototype that aims to humanise technology. The team look to create a connection between strangers and build a shared experience through connecting senses between performers and the public through the use of digital body technologies. In a one to one experience, sensor technologies worn by both audience member and performer are used to create a soundscape from the breath of the dancer and the pulse of the spectator. The ability to experience the physicality and emotional state of another human is a way of positioning the human at the heart of this technological experience.

Videos from each city and each day can be viewed here.

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