Alison will be the Saturday presenter for an afternoon workshop and evening performance for the 24th Annual Arts Weekend.
Alison Dobbins, Associate Professor of Integrated Performance Media Design, is at the forefront of a new frontier in theatre – one that integrates digital media, lighting, and theatrical production to provide magical effects for the stage.
Initiation to Dance
Computer, television, tablet and phone – we are surrounded by small screens that keep us connected to the world but make it hard to connect with each other. Elementary students
in school learn on a tablet. The President of the United States addresses the nation daily
in 144 characters or less on twitter. Dating, bullying, news, editorials, friendships,
debate, politics, protest have all moved online.
What better place to step back in time than at Mackinac Island. The speed of travel is measured by horse and the hours in the day by how much fudge you can consume.
Have you ever performed in a play, a concert, a dance? The exhilaration, the butterfly
jitters, the tension between the potential for success and failure is exquisite or torture.
But there is also an energy and a connection with all the other performers that is
impossible to replicate outside of that performance space. My work as an artist
focuses on the advantages and possibilities of the small screen as a tool and access point to
transition an individual from audience to performer. The anonymity provided
in online communication creates a space for those who would not feel comfortable
voicing their opinion or performing their talent in front of 100 people live,
but may feel free to do so in front of 1,000 people online.
Through my performance piece Dance Engine, I move the audience from individual
small-screen performances to a single collective dance party.
For the past five years I have developed
Dance Engine through short residencies at St.Olaf College, Brigham Young
University, and Michigan State University. This work has also been performed
in Grand Rapids,MI ArtPrize 2015 and 2017, and at the Edinburgh Fringe
Festival 2015 and will be performed at the Dance and the Child International
conference in Adelaide Australia in July 2018. Dance Engine explores
the synthesis of dance, technology, interactive theatre, and play.
The performance format and electronic elements elicit choreography,
improvisation, and personal interaction from participants.
The Dance Engine mobile application facilitates a game between audience and
performers. The initial low- risk involvement provided through anonymous input from
the app invites audience members of all ages and abilities to participate. A stepwise
elevation of participation creates performer-to- performer, performer-to- audience, and
audience-to- audience exchanges and relationships. Through technology and play,
audience members transform from observer to participant to performing dance artist.
By integrating audience members as performers,
Dance Engine investigates accessibility and dance literacy
possibilities across multiple demographics: the young, the aging,
trained dancers,and the general population inclusive
of mixed abilities.
Join us for Alison’s afternoon workshop as a feature of the 24th Annual Arts Weekend presented by the Michigan State University College of Arts & Letters.