Unique project combining ballet and hologram technology to debut in Prague

Holo Harmonies Balet

A unique performance, produced by the National Theatre Ballet and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, is set to have its world premiere on Friday night. Called Holo Harmonies, the project will be held simultaneously in Prague and in Baden-Baden, with the two stages connected through hologram technology.

Filip Barankiewicz | Photo: Martina Schneibergová,  Radio Prague International

The one-off event taking place simultaneously at the State Opera in Prague and at the Festspielhaus in Baden Baden combines three premieres in one production: a new choreography created by Mauro Bigonzetti for the Czech National Ballet, an electronic soundtrack by Sven Helbig performed by the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and animations by Moritz Mayerhofer.

Filip Barankiewicz, the artistic director of the Czech National Ballet, says the idea for the project originated about four years ago in a discussion with the head of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra:

Holo Harmonies Balet | Photo: Serghei Gherciu,  National Theatre

“It sounds interesting, especially when you picture that at that period of time we were under Covid restrictions. Everything was locked down and we used video and technology in order to stay connected to the world. That was part of our decision to go for it and try it.

“We only do a one-time performance because it is really complicated. To make it possible, we need a special internet connection so that we have a really fast internet. The dancers only have a limited space and they need to perform in front of a gauze screen, otherwise the hologram wouldn’t work.”

Mr. Baraknkiewicz says that while modern technologies, including hologram, can be very much part of contemporary art productions, art can never be based solely on technologies:

“However, I think it’s important for art to move forward, to try out different things and not to repeat who had already been done before. I think it’s wonderful to see what the possibilities are.”

Sven Helbig | Photo: National Theatre

In Holo Harmonies, flesh-and-blood dancers from the National Theatre Ballet will share the stage with musicians from Baden-Baden, who will be projected on the spot through holograms. At the same time, the dancers themselves will be projected as holograms on the stage in Baden-Baden, explains one of the members of the ensemble, Kristýna Němečková:

“When we get closer towards the front of the stage, we are in focus, but when we move further away, we start to get blurry. So this is something we have to learn to work with.”

Holo Harmonies | Photo: National Theatre

The dancers will be moving to the sound of Franz Schubert’s Death and the Maiden updated into electronic sound by German composer Sven Helbig. The author of the choreography is Italian Mauro Bigonzetti:

Mauro Bigonzetti | Photo: National Theatre

“The most important thing is the body. The movement and the shape of the body. There is a lot of structure in the music of Franz Schubert and we try to mirror the structure of the music in the structure of the choreography.”

Filip Barankiewicz says the result of the experimental performance will be as surprising to him as to the viewers:

“The viewers will see three or four things at the same time. It will be a fusion of different art forms, and I am excited to see what the effect will be like, if it's going to something really special. We have to wait to find out.”

Authors: Ruth Fraňková , Šárka Švábová
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