Motion-Sensing Tutus Create The Nutcracker 2.0

The Brooklyn Ballet features techno tutus in their take on the classic art form.

The Brooklyn Ballet is enhancing scenes from a holiday classic with the unusual use of high-tech costumes featuring embedded LED lights that respond to the dancers’ movements. Artistic and Founding Director Lynn Parkerson is collaborating with costume designer Avram Finkelstein of YMX by Yellowman and Nick Vermeer and Bill Ward of hacker collective NYC Resistor to bring the vision to reality. The company is currently raising funds on Kickstarter, although the production is already underway, with the last performance scheduled for April 13th.

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The production, titled ‘Vectors, Marys, and Snow’, focuses on two iconic Nutcracker scenes, Snow and Drosselmeyer 1.0. In addition to the high-tech elements, the ballet is infused with street and modern dance, as well as African dance styles. Popping artist Mike “Supreme” Fields plays the part of Drosselmeyer, and also dons an intricate costume, including the Pexel shirt, with embedded LEDs to amplify his subtle movements. The young dancers wear sparking LED hair accessories.

As NYC Resistor shares on their website, the snowfall/glitter effect of the tutus is accomplished through ‘LED lights, motion sensors, and custom coded/fabricated microcontrollers … The sensor we used is called an accelerometer and it’s placed at the waist of the corset. It reacts with with movement of the dancer by increasing the amount and brightness of the LEDs with more vigorous movement from the dancer.’ Check out a test run of this innovative tutu in the clip below.

Tutus & Technology
Images: NYC Resistor

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