We spoke with National Dance Company Wales about their experience with AR during their R&D project.
We spoke with Anna Hainsworth, who is the Tours and Projects Producer at National Dance Company Wales, about how they have tackled their experience with AR and dance, and how they involve their audience with their performances.
Anna explained that they wanted to experiment with how they could involve multi-layering technologies into dance and movement. They wanted to be able to explore dance and movement through technology but wanted to be able to see the patterns they were creating. They decided that the best way to give the body freedom of movement and also a visual to pair with it, was to use the Hololens.
A Hololens is a headset which is shaped similarly to a pair of sunglasses and it allowed the user to see the augmented reality which the dancers were creating within the space. They use a programme called Crayon which allowed you to draw in the real space and a digital drawing will show. This is how the dancers create shapes and pictures through movement for the person who is wearing the Hololens.
A topic which we spoke about at length was the ability to interact with the performers themselves and the audience. Anna explained that due to the Hololens, the audience size has decreased. This is due to the accessibility which they wanted to have present. They wanted their audience to be able to experience the performance and also be able to clearly see the relationship between the dancer and the Hololens. They do let audience members wear the Hololens and see what the dancers see, however, due to limited equipment, not all audience members can get involved. However, she did explain that they have asked their audience about how they felt when watching such a performance. She explained that some audience members felt frustrated because they felt as though they were missing a piece of the performance as they couldn't see the AR, but on the other hand, some audience members were intrigued by this, and ended up filling in the gaps themselves.
Even though we are both using different types of AR and equipment, we are using AR to gain the same result, which is interaction between the audience and performer while telling a story.