We're thrilled to announce the release of the first virtual reality dance experience from Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB), produced by Pixvana.
SILENT RESONANCE brings you inside the mind of a dancer. You can watch this VR film in 360° on your smartphone or web browser. For an immersive experience, we recommend YouTube VR on Google Daydream or Facebook 360 on Gear VR with noise cancelling headphones (download Facebook 360, play SILENT RESONANCE from Pixvana’s Facebook page, then tap “Watch in VR” and insert your device into your Gear VR). Coming soon on Steam.
Debuting last Thursday night at the PNB Stars annual fundraiser, Pointe to the Stars, our virtual reality film SILENT RESONANCE captures the exquisite performances of PNB dancers Emma Love Suddarth and Miles Pertl, choreographed by PNB Company dancer Price Suddarth and directed by our CTO Scott Squires. SILENT RESONANCE was finished with our SPIN Publish platform, which enables ultra-high quality VR video encoding and delivery.
We created SILENT RESONANCE as an exploration of dance movements in virtual space, recalling another pivotal moment in the evolution of a nascent technology: Eadweard Muybridge’s photographic motion studies from the late 1800s. Through this collaboration, we hope to realize PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal’s aspirations of reaching new audiences using technology, while exploring the potential of VR as a new artistic medium.
“I’ve been interested in doing a ballet project for VR for awhile now and PNB was an ideal partner – they were so excited about the technology and its potential to bring a fresh perspective to the arts,” said Scott Squires. “It’s a great way to achieve a more intimate experience with your audience, reach new people outside of the Seattle area, and create visuals that would be impossible to match on a traditional stage.”
“We are excited about the doors this collaboration opens,” said Peter Boal. “We’re seeing one art form enhance another and the sum total is inspiring. Innovative choreography and exquisite dancers are seen in a new light, through a new lens, and by new audiences.”
Price Suddarth Interview
Pixvana: What was your concept behind this piece?
Price: I took inspiration for this work from the virtual reality concept itself. In VR, the intention is to immerse the viewer entirely into a different world. With that idea in mind, I sought out to create a short work that provides the viewer a glimpse into the mind of a dancer. In the piece you see the struggle, the conflict, the joy, and the complex beauty that is the heart and soul of a dancer.
Pixvana: How did you approach choreography for a VR film differently than you would for a stage performance? Were there any things you did the same as for a stage performance?
Price: Because I had never encountered a project quite like this before, I went about creating a work as I would normally. I took inspiration from my dancers and subsequently created a work I was proud of. When it came time to film the work, the crew from Pixvana worked alongside me to seamlessly transition a piece, created in the real world, into the virtual universe.
Pixvana: How do you think the audience experience differs when watching dance in a VR headset, as opposed to watching a performance on stage?
Price: The audience experience in VR is the complete opposite of watching a live performance. When watching a live show, the audience member is seated in a theater—with possibly 3,000 other individuals—taking in what is occurring on stage. When experiencing VR, the viewer becomes the only person in the room, solitary, while the performance happens all around them. The two couldn’t be further from each other. This is what made the project so unique. However, both are incredible ways to experience dance and can function together to build something both tangible and other worldly.
Pixvana: Was there anything that surprised you about making this film and what was it?
Price: In live performance, the majority of work is in the preparation; dancers rehearse work for a number of days or weeks before they reach the stage. Accordingly, once the performances arrive, one theoretically can rest assured that on some level most of the kinks have been worked out. With film—and VR more specifically—most the work is done in post production. It was impossible to visualize fully what the finished product might look like on the day of shooting. There were endless possibilities of how it might all be ultimately put together. Of course, in the end, Pixvana did a fantastic job of finishing the work in a way that stayed true to the original intent and voice, while simultaneously elevating it to a level beyond what one might achieve without the tools and the realm of VR.
Price Suddarth is an American Choreographer/Dancer currently based out of Seattle WA. Price began his dance education first with the Central Indiana Dance Ensemble (2005-2007), followed by the School of American Ballet (2007-2009), and finally on scholarship with the Pacific Northwest Ballet School (2009-2010) where, upon graduation, he received a contract with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 2011, Price was nominated for a Princess Grace Award in dance, and in 2012, he was chosen as one of Dance Magazines Top 25 to watch. Since joining the company, Price has originated leading roles in works by choreographers such as Marco Goecke, Victor Quijada, and Twyla Tharp. Additionally, he has performed featured and leading roles in works by William Forsythe, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Alejandro Cerrudo, Justin Peck, Mark Morris, Christopher Wheeldon, and George Balanchine.
Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers Emma Love Suddarth, Miles Pertl, and Price Suddarth
Silent Resonance Credits
Choreographed by Price Suddarth
Performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers Emma Love Suddarth and Miles Pertl
Created by PIXVANA
Directed by Scott Squires
Executive Producer: Aaron Rhodes
Producer: Julia Fryett
Camera Operator: Mathias Van De Kerckhove
Gaffer: Kevin Traywick
Music composed by Max Richter (Lost in Space from the Motion Picture Soundtrack for LAST DAYS ON MARS by permission from Atlantic Screen Group of Companies)
The dancers of Pacific Northwest Ballet are members of AGMA – the American Guild of Musical Artist, AFL-CIO.
A project of Pacific Northwest Ballet, Peter Boal, Artistic Director.