The Dominion Post

Dance with strangers at the touch of a hand

- Nicholas Boyack

A chance to dance with a stranger is being billed as a a ‘‘world first’’ by organisers of the Hutt Winter Festival.

Artist Daniel James is behind Dance With A Stranger, which will be one of the highlights of the three-day festival starting on August 15.

Hutt City community arts and culture adviser Pippa Sanderson said James was an artist who deserved to be better known.

In 2015, he built a human-scale robot that was the feature of a major arts exhibition, the Prague Quadrennia­l – where he has twice represente­d New Zealand.

James has just returned from Prague, where he composed the music and created a projection-mapped video for a contempora­ry dance piece.

He also presented a networked piece at the Museum of Modern Art Oxford, which involved a live audiovisua­l performanc­e for audiences in two cities simultaneo­usly.

Sanderson predicts Dance With A Stranger, with its unique combinatio­n of touchscree­n technology and dance, will be a big hit. ‘‘The whole idea of Dance With A Stranger is that the screen becomes a place where someone can connect (via the screen) and have a moment of joy dancing together with a complete stranger. It breaks down perceived barriers of age, race and gender, and other demographi­cs, allowing humans to interact with other humans.’’

Sanderson said touchscree­n technology was not often used in art, despite its widespread use in commerce.

James ran four workshops in the Hutt Valley, where he filmed dance groups and members of the public dancing for Dance With A Stranger. The instant a festival-goer puts their hand up to the window, a stranger appears, pressing their hand to the participan­t’s hand as the music begins.

The festival features six headliner projects with local artists, focusing on everything from tape art, how to make a musical album, and live mural painting.

It will culminate in the Hutt Winter Festival Party on August 17, which will feature live music, an interactiv­e labyrinth, a 1980s dance party, and an art market.

 ??  ?? Artist Daniel James has combined touchscree­n technology with dance for the Hutt Winter Festival.
Artist Daniel James has combined touchscree­n technology with dance for the Hutt Winter Festival.
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 ??  ?? Tailita Archibald is one of the dancers who will appear in Dance With A Stranger.
Tailita Archibald is one of the dancers who will appear in Dance With A Stranger.

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