Troika Ranch brings the influence of technology into their eccentric dance movements at the Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago in their Spring 2010 series “Science, Technology and Dance”. They call their new number Loopdiver. This work, created by cofounders Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello, uses motion-capturing software to manipulate prerecorded movements with other multimedia elements such as video, sound and light.
“Established in 1994, and based in New York City and Berlin, Germany, Troika Ranch produces live performances, interactive installations and digital films, combining traditional elements with advanced technologies. The artists’ mission is to create artwork that best reflects and engages contemporary society. The name Troika Ranch refers to directors Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello’s creative methodology, which involves a hybrid of three art disciplines: dance, theatre and media. (The Troika)-in cooperative interaction (the Ranch). During the 1990’s, Troika Ranch was among the pioneers in the field that came to be known as Dance and Technology. They performed internationally and were greatly sought after as guest artists, teachers and lecturers. Troika Ranch’s artistic statement begins, “Interaction is the word that singularly defines the driving force of our artistic practice. Whether it is between the audience and performer, performer and image, movement and sound or human and machine, interaction as an idea fundamentally shapes out work from its inspiration to its presentation”
The Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago, located in Chicago’s South Loop has been named “Chicago’s Beat Dance Theatre” by Chicago magazine and “Best Dance Venue” by the Chicago Reader. It has been hailed as the city’s “leading presenter of contemporary dance, showcasing artists of regional, national and international significance”.
Many Columbia dance students came to watch the program, and were told by the ticket takers to sit in chairs on the stage. As the show began, the audience noticed that there was another row of chairs on the opposite side of the stage. Six people were sitting in the chairs, their bodies limp, and appearing as if they were sleeping. As the lights went down and the spotlight hit them, the audience then realized that these were the dancers.
The player’s dance was like nothing I had ever seen before. The choreography was comprised of a series of repeated motions. These motions were set to the sounds of static and something that resembled the din of a record scratching or a cd skipping. The visual backdrop in the center of the stage played host to these
software-generated images by mirroring the movements of the dancers on stage. The backdrop pieces were shaped like doors with openings so the dancers could walk through them. As they proceeded to walk through the doors, bright lights would flash. The combination of lights, sounds and movements was very visually stimulating and made the audience wonder what was happening next.
Troika Ranch was a very interesting artistic experience and provides one with a unique insight into the world of technology and dance.
T he Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago
1306 S. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605
Photos: Troika Ranch