The multi-award winning Paris-based Spanish choreographer and film-maker Blanca Li has a singular mind that absorbs all manner of influences and transforms them into something very new and very exciting. She was last seen at the Barbican in 2017 with her fascinating show Robot, which looked at the interaction between humans and artificial intelligence and featured a cast of the most endearing humanoid robots you're ever likely to see.
Exciting and innovative Robot may have been, but it still relied on the traditional set-up of an audience sitting in a theatre watching a performance on stage.
Now, Le Bal de Paris, winner of the Lion for the Best VR Experience from the 78th Venice International Film Festival, is quite something else: a ground-breaking immersive show, where audience members wearing a VR headset and body-tracking technology are full participants in the most glamorous ball of their lives, with digital costumes designed by none other than the house of Chanel, and original music by Tony Gutierrez.
Dancers will interact with live performers and other guests and will be taken on a magical, whirlwind adventure through a beautiful garden party, on an unforgettable boat trip and finally into a ballroom for a show-stopping can-can finale.
After the show, participants are invited to learn some of the dance routines by themselves.
This is the kind of work you expect from Blanca Li and her eponymous dance company. Born in Spain, Li studied flamenco and rhythmic gymnastics before opting for classical dance. Moving to New York at the age of 17, she trained at the Martha Graham School; living in Harlem, she witnessed the birth of hip-hop. She moved to Paris where she soon created her own company, with work that absorbed and explored all those influences, and yet more.
In the late noughties she developed an interest in interactive technology – Le Bal de Paris blends that with her many other influences. So, if you're comfortable with wearing a VR headset and tracking sensors on your arms and legs while moving for the duration of the experience, Blanca Li's Le Bal de Paris at the Barbican is a must.
Age Guidance: 14 + (strictly no under-10s)
For any queries regarding access requirements contact the Barbican Theatre team at firstname.lastname@example.org
|What||Le Bal de Paris, Blanca Li, Barbican|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
01 Apr 22 – 28 May 22, No performance on Monday 4; many starting times – consult website Dur.: 1 hour 15 mins no interval
|Website||Click here to book|