Choreocracy at Dance East

Choreocracy at Dance East

Just by reading its name, it’s easy to work out the premise of Choreocracy (a blend of ‘choreography’ and ‘democracy’). However, the show itself is far more complex…

After grabbing a drink, we noticed a phone charging station in the reception of DanceEast. It was a forewarning: ensure your device has enough juice for the show you’re about to take part in. Being an evening show, most people were taking up this offer for a few minutes after having used up their charge for the day – us included.

As we sat down in the theatre, we were asked to connect to a wireless network. A few people had difficulty with this, but two guys (who would later turn out to be the hosts, Choreographer Tim Casson and BAFTA award-winning digital artist Seb Lee-Delisle) made their way around the crowd, helping everyone get connected.

Choreocracy at Dance East
Photo by Jennifer Meredith

What followed was a brief introduction by Tim and Seb, which set the atmosphere for the whole show. The two hosts were cheery, casual and familiar, with an ability to put the audience at ease before we embarked on something that was completely new to all of us. They gave us the gist of the show, and how we (and our trusty devices) would be involved. It was all very exciting.

Throughout the performance, we were treated to a range of contemporary dance; all, might I add, completely lighthearted and designed to keep us thoroughly entertained. Think burlesque with glittery pizza, Harry Belafonte with maracas, and a blow-up dinosaur. It was surprising, hilarious at points, and most of all, fun.

The strange part was watching everyone tap away on their phones during the performance. At any other show, this would have been incredibly rude behaviour. In this instance, it was encouraged. Red hearts popped up on our screens, which we could tap to show our love for a particular dance. We could also vote to alter a dance, making it faster, slower or reversed, and at one point an audience member was put in charge of a laser which one of the performers had to follow around the stage with spontaneous movement.

At the end of the show, in-keeping with the tech theme, a list of stats were revealed to us by Tim and Seb. They disclosed who tapped their red heart the most times, which dance received the most ‘love’ and, most interestingly, how many different variations of the show could have taken place (over 7,000!).

After the show, we couldn’t help but think, ‘is this where the future of dance is heading?’. We’ve moved past pantomime-style audience involvement, and delved into the virtually unexplored territory of techno-puppeteering, where our smartphones play a key role. Could this pave the way to a new era of dance? We shall wait and see…

Find out more about DanceEast

Find out more about Choreocracy

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