Wired, By Liz Stinson, July 19, 2013
There’s a scene in the contemporary ballet Mr. & Mrs. Dream where the walls of the set appear to burst apart, transporting one of the principal dancers from an apartment living room to a sea of meteorites in outer space. The dancer, Julien Derouault from Paris’ Théâtre du Corps, begins to hop from meteorite to meteorite, and with each step, the space rocks appear to dip from the heft of the human body. Of course, Derouault isn’t actually bouncing on meteorites; in reality, he’s simply leaping on the floor of an almost empty stage. The scene is mesmerizing, and from the vantage point of the audience, it really does look like the dancer is jumping through outer space. But it’s all an illusion, created by an elaborately engineered virtual reality system that could begin to replace traditional sets with projectors, screens and computers.
Though the show was conceived and choreographed by Derouault and his partner Marie-Claude Pietragalla, the brains behind Mr. and Mrs. Dream’s high-tech set is Dassault Systèmes. The French software engineering company typically uses its virtual reality technology to test, model and simulate products for companies like Boeing, so it’s natural to think that this collaboration is a bit of an odd pairing. But, says Mehdi Tayoubi, vice president in charge of experiential strategy at Dassault, interdisciplinary collaboration is becoming more common and more imperative for high-tech companies.
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