Dance performance to explore selfies

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What is behind the ubiquitous selfie – is it the real person portrayed in the photo, or someone else? That’s the question Rainbow Dance Theatre will seek to explore during a performance scheduled March 2 at Bert Church LIVE Theatre (BCLT).

“Everyone takes selfies and they post it to Facebook or whatever social media site. Everyone is happy, or they look really happy. It’s this way that we project ourselves,” said Darryl Thomas, artistic director with the dance group. “Is that the real self, is that the real us, is that who we really are? We investigated that through technology.”

Thomas said the group’s performance of Selfie would combine contemporary dance with a backdrop of technology that will see selfies become a “virtual performer” on stage. Prior to the show, members of the audience will be encouraged to text their selfies to a number for inclusion in the show.

“Those selfies will become a visual part of the performance,” Thomas said. “There are pre-recorded graphics, but there are also interactive graphics where the graphics are responding to the dancers’ movements.”

Though audience members familiar with contemporary and modern dance might see familiar movements onstage, Thomas said the incorporation of the graphics transforms the performance into something entirely new.

“The use of technology is really innovative in that respect. It’s your chance to see yourself or your friends on stage,” he said. “They get a chance to say, ‘Oh, that’s me!’ and they get a chance to participate and interact with how we can use technology.”

The Rainbow Dance Theatre was founded in Hawaii in 1991 and has been based in Oregon since 2000. Today, eight dancers make up the company, which fuses a variety of dance styles with a theme of diversity in mind.

“It’s based on that idea of diversity, the rainbow diversity of colour, the diversity in terms of the art and of the dance,” Thomas said.

“We combine different kinds of dance in a modern context.”

Selfie is scheduled March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $36. Thomas said the performance would utilize technology to start a discussion.

“It asks people to ask the question of themselves, is that really me or my friends?” he said.

“I think it gives people the opportunity to reflect on it. Is this who you are or is this not really who you are? It’s really open to conversation.”

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