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Musical combines high-tech with dance

stage

February 14, 1996
Web posted at: 5:30 p.m. EST (2200 GMT)

From Correspondent David George

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (CNN) -- The curtain rises, revealing a blend of live opera, computer-generated music, video imagery and dramatic movement. (697K QuickTime movie)

It's an evening billed as Intermedia Theater at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

For centuries artists have used their work as a medium for promoting a social conscience. Here, a group of artists are doing just that, combining performance art with computer technology.

dancer

And although the presentation is high-tech, the subject matter is highly emotional and deeply sensitive: incest and sexual abuse. The work -- entitled "Jesus' Daughter" -- tells the story of a woman abused by her father, a preacher.

Perhaps one of the most unusual elements of the piece is the dancer's dual role as performer and on-stage director. Her movements control computerized music and video images displayed on huge screens.(816K QuickTime movie)

screens

When the dancer moves her arms outward in a virtual cross, her movements trigger music to sound. The music continues until she makes the same cross-like motion with her arms.

Her motions also generate images on computer screens on stage, sometimes leaving exotic-looking paint traces across the screen.

This marriage of art and technology is the product of the real-life marriage between composer Burton Beerman and dancer-choreographer Celesta Haraszti.

Haraszti believes the technology used in "Jesus' Daughter" adds an artistic dimension to her work that greatly enhances her performance. (221K AIFF sound or 221K WAV sound)

Beerman notes that although the technology is great, it should never overshadow the on-stage performance. Otherwise, the performance's meaning has been lost. (170K AIFF sound or 170K WAV sound)


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