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It's High-Tech Physics. It's Dance. It's a Little of Both.

Crashing together at Hidden Fields at Z Space.

 

David Glowacki doesn’t see much difference between hydrogen bonds and the way dancers interact on stage. He may be the only one. He’s the eccentric mind behind Hidden Fields, a dance performance that makes its U.S. debut at Z Space on March 11th. In it, dancers become molecular fields captured by a 3-D computer and projected on a screen. As they move, the dancers’ “energy avatars” create sounds and waves, similar to the way humans interact with water.

The technology, called “danceroom Spectroscopy (dS),” has made its way around Europe’s galleries and museums as an interactive science installation. Glowacki invented dS in 2011 and has been experimenting with it since. Hidden Fields is the first time the technology is used to stage contemporary dance.

But dS, as you might imagine, is not an easy to summarize in an elevator pitch. “It’s hard to explain to people because physics is taught in a very dry way that turns people off,” Glowacki explained. “Some of my artist friends would ask me, ‘Hey Glowacki, what are you doing?’ and I would start talking about nano this and molecular that. It’s so abstract and intangible.”

Glowacki, 33, is as hard to suss out as his work. The artist was once kicked out of the Bristol Old Vic for crowdsurfing during a classical music performance. He showed up to the first day of rehearsal at Z Space in khaki shorts, a khaki shirt and a Green Bay Packers beanie. But he's no slouch. He has a Master’s in critical theory, a Ph. D. in physics, a teaching gig at Stanford and a Royal Society research fellowship. During the show, Glowacki and his team act as on-the-fly composers, and the dancers have to adapt. So, presumably, all three nights could have a different show. “It’s like improvised jazz,” he says. “You have the main thread—you know where you’re starting and you know where you want to end up—but you dont know how exactly you’ll get there.”

 

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