Fugue VR, by Michel Reilhac, with choreography by Yoann Bourgeois
In 2018, director Michel Reilhac joined forces with choreographer Yoann Bourgeois to create an adaptation of Yoann Bourgeois's choreographic performance Fugue/Trampoline. Fugue VR leads the viewer through a vertiginous dance experience, presented in virtual and mixed reality.
An encounter between two explorers
Yoann Bourgeois is a choreographer, circus performer and has been the co-director of the CCN2 - Grenoble National Choreographic Centre since 2016 with choreographer Rachid Ouramdane.
Michel Reilhac has worked as a contemporary dancer and producer of dance company tours. He is now a director specialising in interactive and hybrid formats and immersive experiences of all kinds.
Dance and the quest for innovation in cultural creation brought the two artists together in 2018 for the creation of this unprecedented project, Fugue VR, commissioned by Maison de la Danse de Lyon, produced by the interactive design studio Small Bang and with original sound design led by Philip Glass.
The myth of Sisyphus
The spectator-actor is immersed in the world of one of Yoann Bourgeois's best-known dance pieces, called Fugue/Trampoline. The captivating spectacle depicts a man on a staircase to nowhere, offering a moment of weightlessness which combines circus, dance and poetry.
This is inspired by the Myth of Sisyphus, a character from Greek mythology known for his punishment, which consists of pushing a stone to the top of a mountain which always rolls back to the bottom of the hill before he reaches his goal.
Break the “4th wall”
In the theatre, “the fourth wall” refers to the imaginary wall which symbolically separates the performers from the audience. Yoann Bourgeois and Michel Reilhac have used virtual reality to immerse the viewer in the action and thus blur the boundaries between the audience and the stage.
Fugue VR is available in two formats: a virtual reality film which can be viewed using an individual VR headset, and a collective mixed reality experience. In the latter, 10 spectators each equipped with a VR headset are invited to stand in a circle and follow simple choreographic movements, led by a dancer who accompanies them from start to finish.
Selection at festivals
The mixed reality experience got people talking at the 2018 Lyon Dance Biennale. It was also presented in Germany at the Leipzig International Film Festival, and in Italy at the ShorTS International Film Festival in Trieste and TSFM Digita! in Turin.
Fugue VR follows in the footsteps of the internationally-renowned original work which inspired it, Fugue/Trampoline. Proof that the universal language of dance and music has no borders, especially when in the hands of masterful storytellers.