Sleeping Beauty Dreams turns modern-day tech dreams into reality within a traditionally contemporary space.
There is a saying that “everything old is new again.” and nothing rings truer for the BlackTrax-propelled, highly tech-orchestrated production of Sleeping Beauty Dreams. In this show, technology is embraced as art.
Sleeping Beauty Dreams is a retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, the uncharted territory that has never been part of the original libretto. Classical ballet patrons and other dance purists may turn up their noses at Diana’s real-time avatar, the rave-like digital effects and EDM score but Sleeping Beauty Dreams has attracted celebrity guests like Mick Jagger and Marilyn Manson in support of the show.
This avant-garde production of the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty is a new kind of theatrical experience. When contemporary dance meets real-time avatar-mapping projection, set to an immersive 3D soundscape of forward-thinking electronic music, a different kind of multi-dimensional scenic experience is born.
Collaboration is the key principle of the project
Rem Khass, the project’s creative producer, first came up with the concept of the show in 2015.
From the very beginning of the project, the show’s choreographer works in close cooperation with the visual artists and technology experts. Together, they invent and implement unique artistic solutions to bring the mysterious story to life.
“Technology today has become precisely the new medium that provides new methods of expression by mixing different types of art.” – Rem Khass, interview in Miami Girl Mag
The team of artists includes:
- Diana Vishneva(Principal Dancer, Princess Aurora)
- Tobias Gremmler (Digital Artist)
- Thijs de Vliegerof NOISIA (Composer)
- Edward Clug(Choreographer)
- Bart Hess (Costume Design)
- fuse* (Technology Artists)
- Marcelo Gomes(Principal Dancer)
- Laurent Fort (Light Artist)
BlackTrax real-time tracking is used throughout the entire production of Sleeping Beauty Dreams in profound and innovative ways. In addition to its role in tracking for lighting, BlackTrax has also been integrated with L-Acoustics’ 3D immersive audio technology, L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound. The system then outputs positional data to fuse*, the company responsible for all visual content used in the Sleeping Beauty Dreams production. The live content is generated by using Perception Neuron, created by Noitom, to track the dancer’s body parts, joints and body movements. Her body movements were tracked using 17 Inertial sensors. The integration of the technologies was done by the Fuse team. BlackTrax’s positional data determines the dancer’s position, movements through the space, and orientation on stage.
Nick Assunto, the production manager and technical designer of the project hired by MRG, Inc., proposed BlackTrax for Sleeping Beauty Dreams as an alternative option to a more basic technology since the system will give complete coverage to the stage and more freedom of movement for the Prima Ballerina. Not to mention the easy integration with both the lighting and audio systems.
Fun Fact: fuse* the third party responsible for the show’s real time content, were able to write to RTTrPM in one day and immediately started receiving and using positional data from BlackTrax.
BlackTrax Set Up
The BlackTrax system in Sleeping Beauty Dreams consisted of eight cameras. Two at FOH positions and six on stage positions. Only the dancer, Diana, is tracked for the performances, however, but two beacons are used to ease the process of costume changes. Both costumes featured in the production have three stringers for better visibility, one on each shoulder and one middle-upper back.
BlackTrax breathed more creative freedom into the production. The result was a precise response and smooth motion of the body tracking system and the lighting cues. The system helped to perfectly synchronize lighting, media and audio elements, giving precise and exact responses from each. As well, the dancer was given more freedom of movement on stage. No stage marks were needed. MRG was very impressed with the response of the system.
“The deployment of BlackTrax was not that complicated but required dedicated time for the calibration with the lighting system. As far as video integration and integration with the L-ISA technology, it was very easy to communicate with third party software.” – Nick Assunto
Lighting with BlackTrax
Due to the sensitive nature of our lighting environment, follow spots on the show were not an option. The fact that we have many projection elements and screens around the dance area, a solution was needed to archive optimal lighting in any position or angles to minimize the impact of light sources on the floor and video screens.
The advantage of using BlackTrax with the moving lights gave the production the capacity to control the intensity, and the position very accurately. This gives freedom to the performers and remove the human factor error of follow spots on stage.
Immersive Audio Integration with L-Acoustics
In 2018, BlackTrax became the first motion tracking L-ISA integration partner for L-ISA technology by L-Acoustics. BlackTrax technology has now become a part of the L-ISA demonstration at trade shows and the company’s L-ISA demo facilities in New York and California, providing a more natural, connected and highly revealing illustration of L-ISA spatialization capabilities. L-ISA technology enables artists to create and deliver new multidimensional sound experiences for live and recorded productions.
For Sleeping Beauty Dreams, L-ISA uses BlackTrax’s positional data to affect the pan and depth of the source of the sound. This is an exciting example of how technologies can enable and uplift a creator’s artistic vision while remaining invisible yet impactful enhancers of the audience experience.
“L-ISA and BlackTrax performed beautifully, and literally, in sync for this very cutting-edge production. With L-ISA, live sound is rapidly moving into creative areas of programming, dynamic motion and spatialization, and we would be thrilled to collaborate with BlackTrax on future shows that marry these two forward-thinking technologies.” – Laurent Vaissié, L-Acoustics CEO USA & Canada
It’s one thing to produce music to be delivered in a night club setting but for this type of project, all traditional rules are let go of. The full spectrum of dynamics and space can be used.
Dutch artist, Thijs de Vlieger, was tasked with creating the epic soundtrack to be delivered in L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound for Sleeping Beauty Dreams. No stranger to the underground EDM music scene, Thijs is one third of electronic trio, NOISIA. The trio produce a wide variety of electronic music including drum and bass, dubstep, breakbeat and house.
“When I came into the rehearsal studio, and heard my spatial sounds actually mapped out in space, WOW… That was really an “aha, now I get it” moment! The way some of my sounds and melodies were tracking across the stage following Diana, it’s beautiful. It (immersive, spatialized sound) really pulls the listener out of their head, out of this imagined acoustic space that I’m used to with club sound systems, and into the actual room. I look forward to exploring these possibilities more in the future!” – Thijs de Vlieger, NOISIA
Carlos Mosquera, the L-ISA mixing engineer of the show was able to merge the main sound elements of the score with the motions of Prima Ballerina Diana Vishneva. Every bit of audio coming through the system, from the lush tapestry of audio stems from Thijs’ soundscape, was handled by Carlos. The integration of L-ISA with BlackTrax enabled visual-to-sound tracking for this futuristic ballet performance. This would have been impossible to achieve with a traditional stereo setup.
“The tracking technology from BlackTrax gave me smooth and accurate positional data that was used by L-ISA to spatialize sound in real time. Dancers tend to move fast and even run on stage, but BlackTrax always kept pace. There were no glitches or any type of audio artifacts which is impressive and definitely state of the art.” – Carlos Mosquera, L-ISA Labs Engineer
There you have it. All pieces, moving together united, with an explanation of how.
Sheer technological magic with BlackTrax at the center, connecting all stylistic strokes with crucial elements of the show.
It’s true: if you are looking to watch ballet as has been enjoyed since the 16th century, Sleeping Beauty Dreams might not be synonymous with the word contemporary. Let’s be real, Princess Aurora slept for a hundred years. Look at all the technological advances that have happened in the last century!
Isn’t it possible Princess Aurora traded in her violin concerto for a techno track?
Sleeping Beauty Dreams is a production that embraces the present, a fast-paced world of technology. This show is built on the rush of imagination and innovation and all are invited to enjoy.
We’ll be tracking you!
About Sleeping Beauty Dreams
About CAST BlackTrax
Since 1994, CAST has delivered solutions to and for the entertainment production industry and special events and meeting industry. Based in Toronto Canada, we deliver to the world!
CAST BlackTrax is the multi-award-winning real-time tracking technology solution that delivers precise streaming 3D & 6D positional data to controllers for targeting the connected automated robotic technologies already used extensively in event and entertainment production, and houses of worship. Using proprietary IR and RF, BlackTrax delivers dynamic streaming positional data with six degrees of freedom (x, y, z, plus roll, pitch & yaw) to 3D & spatial audio, automated lighting, multimedia servers, and robotic cameras – all at the same time, in real-time.
BlackTrax is a complete ‘tracking solution’, which means either CAST or a BTExpert will ensure it is properly designed and installed to deliver optimal results, as well as provide onsite training and ongoing support. www.blacktrax.ca