February 11, 2019 Wendy Wang

The Future of the Performing Arts

A graceful harmony of dance and technology.

Have you ever seen dance and technology placed in the same realm? Probably not. The history of technology rarely touches on performing arts.

Francesca Hayward, principle dancer with the Royal Ballet

Rarely linked as one harmonious form, the performing arts and technology are typically seen as polar opposites. Sometimes even placed as a juxtaposition; we tend to struggle to decipher the correlation between the performing arts and the world of technology.

Today, we continue to bridge the gap between the performing arts and the fast-paced world of technology.

On January 31, 2018, Yamaha Corporation announced the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) in its products and services. Collaborating with renowned dancer Kaiji Moriyama, Yamaha Corporation successfully created an innovation that represented unity that we did not expect.

To be more specific, Yamaha utilized artifical intelligent to control the piano through Kaiji Moriyama’s dance moves. Moreover, Moriyama’s movements were conveyed through an original system Yamaha offered. This significant harmony of the arts and the technology was officially presented at “Mai Hi Ten Yu”, a concert held in Tokyo.

“Yamaha believes this performance represents steady progress in the pursuit of new forms of artistic expression and will continue to develop this technology to further expand the possibilities for human expression.”

Technology Aspect

The four sensors placed on Moriyama’s back enables the AI system to analyze the his movements in a speedy manner. Additionally, the AI attached to the original database “creates suitable melody data (MIDI) from the dancer’s movements instantly. The system then sends the MIDI data to a Yamaha Disklavier™ player piano, and it is translated into music. ” (https://www.yamaha.com/en/news_release/2018/18013101/)

A system that can translate music with full precision; The Yamaha Disklavier™ is an original system developed by Yamaha. For the “Mai Hi Ten Yu” concert, the Yamaha Disklavier™ was a crucial factor for successful translation of music as it can produce notes “with extreme accuracy through very slight changes in piano touch” (https://www.yamaha.com/en/news_release/2018/18013101/).

In conclusion, it is significant that technology is heavily shaping the world of the performing arts. Yamaha Corporation has remarkably impacted our perspective on both technology and the performing arts. Bridging the gap between technology and the arts is a lot easier than one may believe. Incorporating technology in composition and choreography similar to Yamaha executed or through audience engagement, etc are only a few of the dozens of ideas one can bring to life.

“At Yamaha, we believe that AI will become a bridge between human beings and musical instruments. We are continuing our AI development activities to enable human beings to have freer and more direct expression through musical instruments.”

Motoichi Tamura, General Manager of Development Department No. 1, Research & Development Division, Yamaha Corporation

We must continue to be intrigued and curious about new changes; innovation enables our society to grow and advance as human beings. The arts are the core of human creativity, inventiveness, and social skills. Today, our society is greatly immersed in the abyss of high-technology; however, we must preserve our arts. Most significantly, incorporating the arts in our unique world of technology will enable magnificent progress.

Sources

  • https://www.clydefitchreport.com/2018/03/dance-technology-innovation/
  • https://www.yamaha.com/en/news_release/2018/18013101/
  • https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/francesca-hayward-interview
  • http://www.justscience.in/articles/implications-ever-increasing-globalization-technology-global-economy/2018/01/20