On stage a dancer and a piano. There is no pianist. The dancer starts developing her choreography and the instrument’s keys move responding to her gestures. The music sounds even if her body does not touch the instrument.
Piano&Dancer is an interactive dance piece for a dancer and a mechanical piano that employs technology to perceive the relationship between dance and music from a different perspective. For this piece, an original technology has been developed that senses the dancer’s body movement and translates it into music. The music of the performance is therefore produced through the piano’s mechanical movements, which are always influenced by the dancer’s bodily movements. In Piano&Dancer the spectator can perceive through acoustic feedback, intimate aspects of the choreography that are usually hidden to an external observer.
One of the central motivations for the realization of this piece is based on the assumption that a pianist’s bodily movements that are necessary to control an acoustic instrument during a musical performance, correspond itself to a very sophisticated choreography that requires a thorough awareness of body position and body motion, both of which have large effects on the resulting sounds. This choreography is at the same time very sophisticated but also highly constrained. In Piano & Dancer, the Instituto Stocos has developed a specific technology to transform body movement into music, but overcoming the physical limitations to which the body of a pianist is normalized forced. The mechanical piano thus becomes an instrument capable of translating in real time the expressive qualities of dance into sound structures and, at the same time, expanding the presence and body awareness of the dancer.