CENTAUR Danish Dance Theatre & The Royal Danish Ballet Choreography: Pontus Lidberg, A&V Ryoji Ikeda, AI: Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm

The performance Centaur is a modern dance piece that articulates the tension between man and machine, by enabling 9 dancers to interact with a machine learning based installation live on stage.

Centaur is developed by critically acclaimed artistic director and choreographer Pontus Lidberg in collaboration with AI-artist Cecilie Waagner-Falkenstrøm and Ryoji Ikeda, Japan’s leading electronic composer and audio-visual artist.

Cenatur is a modern dance piece utilizing machine learning to examine the consequences of artificial intelligence and the power of technology in a clash between man and machine; creators versus their creation. The title Centaur, inspired by the half-horse half-human creature from Greek mythology, is also the name of a computer-science concept relating to the that elevation of natural human qualities through the combination of both artificial and human intelligence.

The artwork scrutinizes what happens when dancers encounter a unique ARTificial intelligence, programmed exclusively for the performance by artist Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm and her team of software developers and data scientists. The ARTificial intelligence is both co-creator and participant in the performance. The AI influences choreographic composition based on various data sets such as planetary movements, swarm technology and the dancers’ movements as tracked and collected throughout the creative process. As a performer, the artificial intelligence can simulate consciousness, emotion and intention as it interacts with the dancers on stage. This means that each performance is a unique and unpredictable event — a neat allegory to our human relationship with technology.

Throughout the process and rehearsals, the technology and humans have been working closely together. Human created compositions have been deconstructed by the machine and vice versa in an ongoing process of creation with the final result being something entirely new that neither the choreographer nor the artificial intelligence algorithm could have anticipated. There is no divisible point where the human creation ends and the machine takes over – both are entangled.


Artistic team:
Choreography: Pontus Lidberg
Artificial Intelligence installation: Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm
Audio and Visual Design: Ryoji Ikeda
Computer Programming for Visuals: Tomonaga Tokuyama
Light Design: Raphael Frisenvænge Solholm
Costume Design: Rachel Quarmby-Spadaccini
Dramaturge: Adrian Guo Silver
Music: Franz Schubert, Ryoji Ikeda, Giacomo Puccini
Computer Programming for AI: ARTificial Mind & Technical University of Denmark – DTU Compute Department
Development: The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University
Co-production: Danish Dance Theatre co-produced with Oriente Occidente, Théâtre National de Chaillot and The Royal Danish Theatre

Tech development for Artificial Intelligence:
ARTificial Mind and Technical University of Denmark – DTU Compute Department