Art of Movement

Art of Movement is a 30 minute dance work choreographed by Billy Cowie incorporating live and virtual 3d dancers. It was co-produced by Kyoto Experiment and South East Dance with support from Arts Council England and University of Brighton. It won the won the Prix du Jury at FCIDC 2013 (Festival Culturel International de Danse Contemporaine). It is frequently perfromed with local dancers in the live parts (Russia, Mexico, Cuba, Japan, Korea, Denmark, Egypt)

Perfromed at festivals in Edinburgh, Kyoto, St Petersburg, Moscow, Zagreb, Seoul, Kochi (Japan), Monterrey (Mexico), Bournemouth, Havana, Torino, Copenhagen, Cairo, Algiers.


The work takes the form of a series of short 3 to 4 minute sections that make up a treatise on the art of choreography. Each section is preceded by an introduction that explains the particular technique to be explored in the ensuing section (these will be in the language of the country the work is presented in). Depending on space, time, finances and dancer availability the work can be presented in a wide variety of formats from at its simplest a single looped projection of one of the sections to at its most complex the full 30 minute work involving 4 live performers and 6 virtual 3d performers. The work can be presented in art galleries, cinemas, theatres and unconventional spaces including outdoors at night. Each section has a series of visual images by the German artist Silke Mansholt projected onto both the virtual and the live dancers. The work is also designed to be paired (after a fifteen minute interval) with the companion piece Dark Rain

It was premiered in its full version (along with Dark Rain) at the Kyoto Experiment in September 2013



choreography - Billy Cowie

virtual dancers - Yumiko Minami, Tomohiko Kyougoku, Kaori Ito,

drawings - Silke Mansholt

costumes - Holly Murray

directed – Billy Cowie

voices Lucie Robson and Cathryn Robson

translations Miwa Monden



Stereoscopic Trilogy 2    ????

It HAS been a long, full month at Dance Base, but with this second wave of shows, artistic director, Morag Deyes has definitely saved the best until last. Billy Cowie’s Stereoscopic Trilogy 2 is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Working with 3D imagery and live performance combined, it manages to be both human and technological at the same time. During Art of Movement, a dancer standing on a square plinth duets with another dancer on-screen. But, wearing our 3D glasses, it’s almost hard to know which dancer is in the room with us, and which is virtual. In Cowie’s second film, Jenseits, Oxana Panchenko duets with herself (both on-screen) standing on a ladder. Finally, Dark Rain is a film for three dancers – one real, two virtual – with a pounding percussion soundtrack (in stark contrast to the gentle cello of previous pieces). A full version of Art of Movement, with three live and six virtual dancers, is in existence – if we could see that at Dance Base next Fringe, I’m sure it would make a lot of people very happy.

Kelly Apter, The Scotsman, 23 Aug 2013



Stereoscopic Trilogy 2    ? ? ? ?
We've perhaps become a tad blasé about 3D, but Billy Cowie's dance works in Stereospcopic Trilogy 2 yet again use the technology to tease our perceptions of what's real and what's virtual - and how that feeds into reflections, not just on dance but on how we read and map our daily experiences. Jacqueline Mitchell is the live dancer in both Art of Movement (extracts) and Dark Rain. But once our 3D glasses are on, she seamlessly enters an other-worldly realm alongside a virtual dancer. Precisely timed actions become more than choreographic demonstrations, they're a dialogue in (and across) other dimensions. This interaction is at its spookiest in Jenseits, where two screens simultaneously show a virtual Oxana Panchenko on a ladder seen through shifting monochrome patterns: the same, but also different, like echoes of a self in the here and now, or maybe in the here-after. Afterwards, the urge to pinch yourself is irresistible.

Mary Brennan, Herald, 27 Aug 2013


Billy Cowie treats the audience with his poetry in 3D

The fifth edition of Le Festival International de Danse Contemporaine offers lovers of this art form high quality performances. A show merging contemporary dance, poetry and 3D technology was presented on Sunday, in Algiers, by Scottish choreographer Billy Cowie, giving an unexpected surprise to the spectators. Themes such as death and separation were evoked through a scenography favouring the use of black and white, and light and shadow playing on the dancers bodies... both real and virtual.

Contemporary dance lovers were amazed by the performance presented by the Scottish choreographer Billy Cowie, on Sunday evening, as part of the Fifth International Contemporary Dance Festival. Shown at the Palais de la Culture, in the 'off' section of the festival, 'Stereoscopic Trilogy 2' offered an unprecedented visual experience in contemporary dance, based on symmetrical games between a dancer (Jacqueline Clarke Mitchell), physically present on stage, and holograms of other dancers, projected on a screen.

Composed of three sections, this one hour long choreography unfolds a poetic virtual universe, which also has a "didactic aspect" explains Billy Cowie; particularly in the first part 'Art of Movement', when the dancers movements are characterised with names such has "dead body parts" or "magnetic touch" and are preceded by explanations read by another hologram.

Later for the benefit of a smaller audience of about thirty visual art students, the choreographer explained such themes as death and separation, by means of a scenography playing with black and white, light and shadows, imprinting the dancers’ bodies, real and virtual, with the projected drawings of German artist Silke Mansholt.

The last section, entitled "Dark Rain" allowed for an even deeper exploration of the surreal aspect of the piece. Stringing together highly rhythmical sequences of movements, simultaneously performed by Jacqueline Clarke Mitchell and two projected Japanese dancers the choreography was brought to a frantic conclusion under kaleidoscopic light effects.

Performed for the first time at this year's Edinburgh Festival (Scotland),  'Stereoscopic Trilogy 2' brings "a genuine artistic challenge" reckons Jacqueline Clarke Mitchell, for whom the main difficulty is to "transmit emotions in spite of the lack of human rapport with my virtual partners".

Abia Selles. Le Jour d'Algerie. 19/11/2013.


A surrealist choreography

The British Council, who is taking part for the first time in the International Contemporary Dance Festival organised annually by the Minister of Culture and involving a host of world renowned choreographers, offered last Sunday afternoon at the Palace Moufdi-Zakaria, a surprising representation of choreographic 3D dance, a high-tech artistic technology with impressive optical effects, seen for the first time in Algiers.

Curious and eager spectators, joined by Fine Art students from l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts ISMAS, flocked to the allocated room where they were let in, a small group at a time, equipped with special glasses - an essential accessory to attend the spectacle. Sitting on beautiful Berber rugs, they were able to discover an original type of choreography, which is currently being explored by a few European artists, thanks to the support of sophisticated technology which is only just starting to be used in the field of the Visual Arts.

A lot of creativity and conceptual ingenuity are doubtlessly needed to obtain such an aesthetically accomplished result, with minimal means and only one dancer. The spectator was plunged, so to speak, into a universe worthy of the finest surrealist images. An illusory ballet of bodies, gave the impression of a spectacle integrating volumes and objects in a new dimension. The projected images of the moving dancers, intertwined with their background, created a magnificent canvas offering the illusion that non-existent things existed on stage, and evolved in a space scattered with motives imprinted on an invisible wall and on bodies not in fact actually present.

This is a very moving and disturbing choreography with multiple meanings being created before the eyes of the spellbound spectators. One can only guess at the artistic touch of Billy Cowie, present in the room, side by side with the director of the British Council, Mr Martin Daltry. The versatile artist is a perfect choreographer, an accomplished composer and filmmaker who comes from Scotland, and who is also the creator of about twenty artistic and theatrical performances. Working particularly in the field of the Visual Arts and specialising in the making of installations and dance, he has already completed five major projects for the screen and has published, in January 2006 with Routledge, a book on related research entitled 'Anarchic Dance'. He is also a researcher at Brighton University.

We then followed with pleasure the performance of a real dancer, flanked by two dancers of Asian origins - or to be exact, by their images- standing on pedestals. We watched as they climbed ladders, suspended in the void, executing gestures of a rare precision. The show, entitled Stereoscopic Trilogy 2 (Art of Movement, Jenseits, Dark Rain), set to a beautifully sung, and very moving Scottish ballad, displayed movements that seem to get closer and closer to the spectator. This enchanted tableau appeared to come straight out of a dream or the artist's colourful imagination, and the dances, in the end, only seem to be a pretext for the spectacle's existence. It has to be pointed out that this is a very interesting innovation for the digital world, based on the installation of a strange and spectacular stereoscopic dance.

In any case it is irrefutable proof that the latest scientific technologies, when guided by human vision, can get along wonderfully well with the most avant-guard art.

Lynda Grabba El Moudjahid  19/11/13            

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Technical Setup
Laptop with HDMI output and stereo sound output
Video projector (high definition 1920x1080 native) with HDMI input.
Stereo sound system
A room with smooth white wall (4.5 metres by 2.5 metres for life size) or white screen (not a back projection screen) with no light coming in to the room.
Audience wear cyan/red glasses which we provide.

White wooden boxe venue provides