Sept. 2020

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CENTAUR - Danish Dance Theatre

Photos: Raphael Frisenvænge Solholm

Danish Dance Theatres dancers and an Artificial Intelligence installation perform Centaur, a thought-provoking new work by the critically acclaimed Artistic Director and choreographer Pontus Lidberg. Centaur is an innovative and ambitious artistic collaboration, presented by Danish Dance Theatre, The Royal Danish Theatre, Festival Oriente Occidente and Théâtre National de Chaillot.


Centaur examines the consequences of using artificial intelligence and the power of technology. The title ‘Centaur’, inspired by the half-horse half-human creature from Greek mythology, is also the name of a computer-science concept that elevates human qualities by combining artificial and human intelligence.


Centaur is a high-tech dance performance, developed in collaboration with AI-artist Cecilie Waagner-Falkenstrøm and Ryoji Ikeda, Japan’s leading electronic composer and audio-visual artist.

Pontus Lidberg, an internationally established choreographer and film-maker, is known for his unique, poetic voice. His work opens a world of magical realism, where emotion and the subconscious are among the core elements. In Centaur, he explores what happens when dancers encounter a newly developed artificial intelligence program. Does technology change us, or simply reflect who we have always been?


Artificial Intelligence as Co-Creator and Participant

The AI, programmed exclusively for the work, is both co-creator and participant. He influences choreographic composition based on various data sets such as planetary movements, swarm technology and the dancers’ movements as tracked and collected throughout the creative process. As a performer, he can simulate consciousness, emotion and intention and interacts with the dancers on stage. This means that each performance is a unique and unpredictable event.


Man versus machine, creators versus their creation
Modern technology such as AI is everywhere. We are exposed to advertisements, feeds and news on social media that, through targeted algorithms, tailor content specifically for us. But how will the increasing use of AI affect our future? Will artists develop into hybrids – into centaurs?

Choreography: Pontus Lidberg
Artificial Intelligence installation: Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm
Audio and Visual Design: Ryoji Ikeda
Computer Programming for Visuals: Tomonaga Tokuyama
Light Design: Raphael Frisenvænge Solholm
Costumedesign: Rachel Quarmby-Spadaccini
Dramaturge: Adrian Guo Silver
Music: Franz Schubert, Ryoji Ikeda, Giacomo Puccini  
Computer Programming for AI: ARTificial Mind & Technical University of Denmark - DTU Compute Department (Cecilie WF, Asbjørn O, Asbjørn KN, Thomas MJ and Teeratorn K). 
Development: The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University
Co-production: Danish Dance Theatre co-produced with Oriente Occidente, Théâtre National de Chaillot and The Royal Danish Theatre