Background image: Berkeley Dance Project 2022

Berkeley Dance Project 2022: If Then

Explorations in Dance Choreography Within Computational Environments

Coordinated by Professor Lisa Wymore

Created by Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts & Kinetech Arts

About the Production

Drawing on their years of exploration at the intersection of choreography and technology, Bay Area dance companies Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts (SWDA) and Kinetech Arts collaborated with dancers at UC Berkeley to create two original films.

In Search of an Outcome (directed by Sheldon B. Smith and Lisa Wymore of SWDA) investigates the similarities between machine learning and the creative choices used in making dance improvisation. Some of the improvisation methods used are in conversation with Anna Halprin's RSVP Cycles—paying particular attention to the role of iteration and feedback when attempting to find an optimal performance outcome. The piece also examines how we form ourselves in relationship to our environment, other people, and the time in which we live. SWDA co-created the piece with eight dynamic dancers who explore computer augmented movement instructions and seek connections between themselves and their environment.

Detour (directed by Daiane Lopes da Silva and Weidong Yang  of Kinetech Arts) explores the notion that the arrow of time is in constant motion like a river flowing into the ocean. However, as we move forward, it often feels as if we are moving backward. The piece is a reflection on two years of uncertainties, fear, and solitude, as well as a continuation of ongoing research on non-deterministic technologies, scientific concepts, and choreography. Kinetech Arts developed the piece in collaboration with seven dancers and four musicians, who brought playfulness and tenderness to the piece. Detour invites the audience into a space that is both familiar and strange.

Learn More

Read a Berkeley News feature about the production


Watch without Audio Description

The video below includes both performances: In Search of an Outcome (runtime: 19 minutes) and Detour (runtime: 36 minutes).

To enable subtitles, click the CC button in the lower-right corner of the video player.

An audio described version of both films is available below.

Berkeley Dance Project 2022


Watch with Audio Description

The video below includes both performances: In Search of an Outcome (runtime: 21 minutes) and Detour (runtime: 37 minutes)

Berkeley Dance Project 2022 with Audio Description


About the Dance Companies

Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts (SWDA) is a dance/theater company led by Sheldon B. Smith and Lisa Wymore. SWDA's performances are often as funny as they are physically provocative, intellectually stimulating, and deeply, beautifully human. SWDA works collaboratively with other dancers, actors, filmmakers, composers, technologists, designers, and media artists to develop uncompromisingly original work. Finished pieces always include a range of artistic modes as well as text and technological interventions. SWDA's performance style draws from the postmodern tradition of dance making that calls for a new paradigm on the stage—an aesthetic of everyday movement that draws on a full array of movement, gesture, form, and experimentation within a rigorous practice. Originally a Chicago-based company, SWDA moved to the Bay Area in 2004, and has been presenting work locally and nationally ever since. Learn more at SmithWymore.org

Kinetech Arts combines the work of dancers, scientists, and digital artists to create innovative and socially responsible performances. Each year, Kinetech Arts produces multiple performances and over 50 other public events, including Open Labs, Y-Exchange public talks and Dance Hack Festivals. Through these events, Kinetech Arts practices and promotes cross-pollination of different disciplines, improvisation and free flowing experimentations. Kinetech Arts residencies include Headlands Center for the Arts, Combustible at CounterPulse, Dancing Lab: Immersive Media Through Cunningham at NCCAkron, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and ODC Theatre, among others. Learn more at KinetechArts.org