Ballet BC's The Rite of Spring meets Jamie Griffiths, Multi-Media artist
Click here for Todd Wong's Review of BC Ballet's Rite of Spring
Jaime Griffiths is a) a sensitive photographer b) passionate for
dance c) a cutting edge multi-media artist d) a beautiful soul e)
all of the above.
The answer is of course all of the above. I first met Jaime when
we went outrigger canoe paddling last year. Next she volunteered
to design the Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2005 poster
Jaime has her own multi-media and graphics company – sure to get real
busy, real soon. Check out her very exciting and interactive
Yesterday Kevin Griffin wrote a story in the Vancouver Sun about
Jaime's upcoming collaboration for Ballet BC's The Rite of Spring – the
world premiere was last night, April 21, and the last two nights are
tonight and tomorrow, April 22, 23 at the Queen Elizabeth
Theatre. I will be there. Tickets range from $26.50 to
$70.50 plus service charges. They're available at Ticketmaster.ca and
by calling 604-280-3311.
Here are some excepts from Kevin's article.
Griffiths has the
look of someone entirely focused. With only days to go, she's working
at breakneck speed to bring something new to the world of ballet: an
interactive set that changes in response to the dancers' live
performance. The challenge is that it is extremely painstaking and
time-consuming to load information into as many as 100 building blocks
in the software. Time is a luxury Griffiths doesn't have.
a fuss, Griffiths opts for the practical. She tells everyone to imagine
that the images on the scrim will be eight times larger in the Queen
do one run-through and then a second. And that's when you realize
what's being created. With a delay of less than a fraction of a second,
you see the two dancers running through the forest image and then
superimposed on top of the dividing egg. It's not a recorded image:
it's live. The effect is magical.
What's happening, Griffiths
said, is that new software — a program called Isadora that's been
created for real-time manipulation of digital video — and faster,
smaller computers allows artists such as Griffiths to literally bring
the set alive.
“The stage has eyes and the artists and the
dancers make decisions about the physicality of the space that affect
the set — and it's live. You're not watching a DVD,” she said.
“You're metaphorically giving life to something that has not had life before.”
Ballet B.C., using this kind of technology is a testing of the waters
for a bigger, full-length ballet next year. This evening, when The Rite
of Spring opens for a three-day run in Vancouver, it will mark the
first time live interactive technology and pre-recorded video has moved
from the world of experimental modern dance to the ballet. It's the
kind of innovation that's become a Ballet B.C. trademark under artistic
director John Alleyne.
It's no accident that this kind of technology
is being brought to a wider audience in Vancouver. Although there are
several locations around the world where artists and programmers are
working to create what's been called an intelligent stage, Vancouver
turns out to be one of the hot spots in the field.
example, carved out a niche as an interactive media artist by accident.
Coming from a background of more than two decades as a visual artist
and photographer, Griffiths embarked on a new artistic direction in
2000 for the Vancouver New Music Society when she decided to create an
interactive video with music in honour of the 20th century composer
Since then, working on one project after another,
she's managed to turn herself into something of a computer geek as
she's taught herself how to use the software on live music and dance.
of her most groundbreaking collaborations was with Joe Laughlin for Joe
Ink's Grace, which premiered last October at the Scotiabank Dance
Centre. Using digital and analog cameras that fed live images through a
MacIntosh G5 and then on to various screens, Grace blurred the line
between dance and performance. One New York agent was so impressed that
she booked it into the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this year to
show to some of the major dance presenters around the world.
however, is much different from The Rite of Spring. Grace had only one
dancer and both Laughlin and Griffiths had 18 months to create the
performance and build the software. With The Rite of Spring, Griffiths
really started working only at the beginning of March. As a result,
Griffiths had been putting in intense 14 to 16 hours of work a day to
create the recorded and interactive video segments for the ballet.
See the entire artible at Spring comes alive: Ballet BC performs Stravinsky's pagan opus on an interactive set