Robots May Be The Future Of Dance Cinematography
Ballet and robotics have come together in the most beautiful way imaginable.
Although they might seem like quite the contradictory pair, it turns out that ballet and robotics have a rather remarkable chemistry. The practiced organic precision of the dancers, complemented by the limited but highly controlled movement of the robot create a modern harmony, beautifully dissonant at times, but a completely original take on the classical art form.
Or so it seems watching the 'Box' filmmaker Tarik Abdel-Gawad's film adaptation of Tchaikovsky's 'Francesca Da Rimini' ballet. Described as "an experiment designed to synchronize dance choreography with robotic motion," the film introduces San Francisco Ballet stars Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada, as they perform the dance's highly perfected and precise steps, to a massive robot-controlled moving camera designed to dance with them across the stage, tracking their every movement.
Close-up shots fit naturally with "Francesca", Tchaikovsky's famously expressive and dramatic symphonic adaptation of Dante's story of Francesca— the beautiful and tragic heroine from The Inferno— who Dante meets during the fifth canto, in the second circle of hell, where she and her lover, Paolo, are eternally damned for their star-crossed love.
"The film itself brings the viewer closer to a ballet performance than is possible on a stage. Using a robot allows the camera to be choreographed as well as the dancers, achieving spectacular shots designed specifically for this performance. The end result is a film that makes viewers feel they're in the room dancing with the performers."Says Abdel-Gawad,
It's hard to argue with such a statement because the result really is rather spectacular. Watch the finished product below...
Abel-Gawad gracefully sums up the project as a project that "demonstrated that it was possible to synchronize robotic motion with extremely complex athletic choreography." He's too modest to call his work what it really is: a modern masterpiece.
For more on this specatcular project, check out The Creator Project's interview with Abdel-Gawad to learn more about how robotics met ballet in his experiment.