Did you hear that plié?

May 7, 2015

Dancers from Canada`s Ballet Jörgen and students from George Brown College’s School of Performing Arts’ dance program George Brown Dance perform at Digifest 2014 using wearable technology

[Toronto, ON – May 7, 2014] Audience members will literally hear what a plié sounds like when Canada’s Ballet Jörgen and students from George Brown Dance, the dance program of George Brown College’s School of Performing Arts, perform on Thursday, May 8 and Saturday, May 10 at Digifest 2014, Toronto’s international festival celebrating innovation and digital creativity.

SoMo, wireless , wearable sensors produced by Sonic Wear, allows the dancers from Canada’s Ballet Jörgen to generate their own music while performing short ensemble works. Festival visitors will also have the opportunity to use the technology themselves to create sound and interact with George Brown dance students.

SoMo uses accelerometers and pressure sensors strapped to dancers’ arms and legs or sewn into the toes of pointe shoes to transmit movement data wirelessly to a computer where it is transformed into musical notes and sounds in real time. With SoMo, inventor Loretta Faveri taps into the current trend for ‘wearable tech’, applying the technology for entertainment and the arts.

As a company focused on dance innovation, Canada’s Ballet Jörgen immediately recognized the SoMo project as a valuable opportunity for artistic research and development. “Our mission is to connect with audiences and we are always exploring new and innovative ways of doing so,” said Education Manager Clea Iveson. Using SoMo dovetails with outreach and education activities and enables the company to create new and exciting opportunities for Canadian choreographers. “For an artistic mind, exploring new possibilities is always appealing. Loretta’s approach to using wearable technology holds the potential to contribute to dance and make it something bigger and better than it already is by itself”, explained Iveson.

Malgorzata Nowacka, renowned Canadian choreographer and long-standing artistic partner of Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, was commissioned to create a new work for Digifest 2014 using SoMo. “I was delighted as SoMo’s possibilities are truly amazing”, said Nowacka, who is using sounds derived from nature like the sound of footsteps on gravel or wind swooshes. “Each sensor is being calibrated for a specific dancer and therefore has the potential to capture individual styles and movements resulting in a fascinating experience for both the dancer and the audience.”

Schedule of dance performances at Digifest 2014

Thursday, May 8 – 1-1:15pm

Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s dancers Taylor Gill and Daniel Da Silva perform using SoMo by Sonic Wear to create their own music. This ensemble piece was choreographed by Malgorzata Nowacka.

Taylor Gill presents a different form of integrating technology and dance. In Fan Dance she uses large ventilators and a flowing scarf to perform a captivating solo dance. This work was created using an installation by New York artist Daniel Wurtzel.

Saturday, May 10 – 25 minute sessions every hour, 10:30am to 3:30pm

During these interactive sessions, members of the audience are invited to use SoMo devices to create sound while three George Brown dance students interpret the sounds and dance to them. Each session (except at 3:30pm) will conclude with Malgorzata Nowacka’s piece featuring Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s dancers.

Location: Corus Quay building, 25 Dockside Drive in Toronto (www.torontodigifest.ca)

About Canada’s Ballet Jörgen

Canada’s Ballet Jörgen is recognized for the innovation, warmth, hu­mour, and beauty in its works. For over 25 years, the organization has sought to advance the art and appreciation of ballet and Canadian cho­reography through performance, educational experiences, and community engagement. Canada’s Ballet Jörgen is proud to be one of the country’s pre-eminent builders of new ballets.

About George Brown College

Toronto’s George Brown College has established a reputation for equipping students with the skills, industry experience and credentials to pursue the careers of their choice. The college offers programs from its three campuses located across the downtown core, including its newest location at the Toronto waterfront, which opened in September 2012. George Brown offers 135 full-time programs and 189 continuing education certificates/designations across a wide variety of professions to a student body of over 24,500 (full-time equivalent) students, including over 3,200 international students; and over 61,000 continuing education registrants. Students can earn certificates, diplomas, postgraduate certificates, apprenticeships and degrees.

About George Brown Dance

Since 1992, George Brown College and Canada’s Ballet Jörgen have enjoyed an unprecedented partnership in the form of George Brown Dance, a dance school offering professional training for students of ballet, jazz and modern dance. Offering professional instruction in a dynamic and highly creative environment, George Brown Dance provides an optimum platform for students seeking a career in Toronto’s vibrant and world-renowned dance community or in the ever-expanding international market.


image6 7

SoMo sensor on pointe shoe


image7 13

Dancer Daniel Da Silva from Canada`s Ballet Jörgen using SoMo

image8 5

Dancer Taylor Gill from Canada`s Ballet Jörgen in creation for Digifest 2014

image9 2

Loretta Faveri from Sonic Wear and sound designer Kyle Duffield

image10 13

Choreographer Malgorzata Nowacka in conversation with dancer Taylor Gill

image11 9

Fan Dance

– 30 –

For more information about Digifest 2014 visit www.torontodigifest.ca
Information about SoMo by Sonic Wear can be found at www.sonicwear.ca

For more information, photos, media passes, and/or to request an interview, contact:
Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, Anne Zozo, 416.415.5000 x 2886, marketing@balletjorgen.ca
George Brown College, Joyann Callender, 416.415.5000 x 3159, jcallender3@georgebrown.ca

image1 29


Season Sponsor


Government Partners

image2  image2 18   image2 15