A dance and digital media performance inspired by the Burma protests of 2007 and their aftermath.

Responding to the uprising in Burma where monks and students marched in September 2007 to protest the country’s brutal dictatorship, Constrained used dance and digital media technologies to investigate the systems of constraint that ensnare us all. The work also was influenced by the protests that erupted in Tunisia and Egypt during 2010-11. The performance featured live dance, live and remixed video projections and a remixed soundscape, incorporating footage captured by dissidents on the scene, smuggled out under thread of imprisonment, and subsequently witnessed world-wide on the Internet.

Media and projection designer John Crawford used the Active Space intermedia performance system to create and perform live video projection sequences on two overhead screens, and on a large transparent scrim located at the border between dancers and audience.

Constrained begins with a solo dancer in a cage-like structure onstage. We also observe his movements abstracted into large-scale sinuous shapes projected onto the downstage scrim, apparently filling the stage. Close-ups of the dancers’ faces materialize on the overhead screens, morphing into processed video sequences derived from the archival footage of the actual events in Burma. As the piece progresses, dancers manipulate vertical screens and interact with their projected images. Finally, large-scale abstract video representations of the dancers wash over the stage as we lose sight of the live performers.

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Claire Trevor Theatre, Irvine, California.


Choreographer: Patrick Corbin

Media & projection designer: John Crawford

Scenic designer Luke Hegel-Cantarella

Sound designer Alan Terricciano

Lighting designer: Lonnie Alcaraz

Dancers & media assistants: UC Irvine students

Production date: February 2011