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#SwanLake: An Old Ballet Made New for the Digital age Audience


This thesis project is comprised of a written paper and a choreographic work. The choreographic work, #SwanLake, was presented in the Experimental Media Performance Lab in the Contemporary Arts Center at the University of California, Irvine on May 8 and 9, 2014 and consisted of a one-act version of the ballet Swan Lake specifically designed for a digital age audience.

The supporting paper contained herein examines changes made to Swan Lake by choreographers since its 1877 premiere. Such changes have been made to explain a character's motivations, clarify difficult storytelling moments, and create a version that is personal, self-expressive, and emotionally communicative. The components of engaging any audience and the specific components necessary to engage a digital age audience are addressed. The level of experience with viewing dance, the length of attention spans, and the cultural values of a contemporary audience are considered in creating a new version of Swan Lake. Video projection in #SwanLake provides unique new settings, clarifies difficult storytelling moments,and provides the digital age audience the comforting familiarity of the screen. I used the technology of the digital age such as video editing, video processing systems, and face-morphing software programs to construct a corps de ballet, to multiply its size, and to create uniformity. The ballet examines the role that text messaging, social media, and the Internet play in our privacy, in our personal lives, and in our contemporary relationships.

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