<strong>Livestream of the World Premiere of "e-Motion," presented by The Cherry Arts and Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company</strong>

Livestream of the World Premiere of “e-Motion,” presented by The Cherry Arts and Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company

The Cherry Arts and Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company present e-Motion,a narrative 50-minute dance/theater hybrid piece. Designed specifically for the screen, the extended duet will be performed six times, each show edited in real time from four-cameras, immersing the viewer intimately in the performance, anywhere in the world. For more information on the program, please visit: https://www.dancewithus.org/e-motione-Motion will be live-streamed in front of a live audience at The Cherry Arts’ Cherry Artspace in Ithaca, NY May 26-June 4.

Award-winning choreographer Daniel Gwirtzman collaborates with award-winning playwright Saviana Stanescu on a piece that explores artificial intelligence, neuroscience and what it means to be human in a digital age. Gwirtzman creates a physical interpretation of Stanescu’s mind-bending text that brings conceptual ideas deep into the human body. The piece lives at the intersection of dance and theater, marrying movement with text, embedding choreography and words deeply into the human body. The score is a combination of text and previously unheard music composed by the late Jeff Story, the Company’s longtime musical collaborator of two decades who passed away unexpectedly in April of 2022.

The piece, both abstract and accessible and performed by Gwirtzman and Company dancer Sarah Hillmon, depicts a creator and a product. Referencing Frankenstein of Mary Shelley’s imagination, this researcher is a neuroscientist and (unlike Shelley’s scientist) a woman. The story follows the presentation of the AI creature, for scholarly and public consumption. Our protagonist has worked for decades to arrive at this moment. The big launch. Experiments and demonstrations are given. What could go wrong?

e-Motion is a story very much about the future, about a future in which AI has advanced. Advanced to a way that resembles some of our fantasies and fears of the present,” said Gwirtzman. “That machines will demonstrate consciousness. That machines will become capable of emoting, of feeling, of feeling emotions. And once doing so…what becomes possible?”

Gwirtzman’s detailed, intricate movements inform Stanescu’s words, which alternate between coding and plainspoken language. Her words inform his movements. Their process of creation is one in which multiple iterations lob back and forth in an extended sequence of volleys, translating emotions into movement, embodying emotions.

ChatGPT has been used as another collaborator in the initial stages of script creation, with responses generated through a series of questions that will be utilized in an interactive component with the audience, even on livestream. In addition, So-Yeon Yoon, associate professor of human centered design at Cornell University works with the e-Motion team to incorporate data visualization in the work, capturing the emotions/brainwaves and manipulating them in real time to produce video projections for the piece.

“We live in a time of rapid advances in AI technology, the Artificial Intelligence systems get smarter and smarter every second. But what is our responsibility as humans, as creators of AI towards our “Creature”? What are the ethical aspects of our interactions with future emotional AI? Big questions…On a lighter note: my neurons are joyously firing when I work on interdisciplinary performances. Certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, invade my brain and I happily collaborate with world-class choreographers like Daniel Gwirtzman to create a unique dance-theatre piece exploring AI and the neuroscience of emotions,” says playwright Saviana Stanescu.

Celebrating their 25th Anniversary in the fall of 2023, Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company has been committed to education since its inception in 1998, operating with the philosophy that everyone can join the dance through multigenerational interactive programming. Incorporating dance and story into the film medium has been a consistent practice along with creating original programming for the stage. The Company’s acclaimed recent creation, a digital educational resource, Dance With Us, showcases the Company’s decade-long practice working in the dance for camera genre. https://dancewithus.org.

Tickets for e-Motion are $20 and can be purchased at https://thecherry.org/e-motion/