Dance the distance is an artistic research project developed in partnership between the following swiss and Italian cultural associations, dance company, university labs , international theater festival and centers: Avventure in Elicottero Prodotti /Lugano, Ariella Vidach AiEP /Milano, DIDstudio/Milano, MEET Digital Culture Center , FIT Fetsival/Lugano, SUPSI/ Visual Lab/Lugano, aimed to test new forms of dance performances in virtual and augmented reality or via VR devices. It’s also a beta test to establish new formats of phygital experiences in performing arts.

DANCE the DISTANCE is a project that identifies in virtual reality the space assigned to rethink the choreography, to expand the dimensions of our living, reflecting on distance as space, possibility, openness and specific dimension of our time. It is an experimental process that investigates dance in virtual and sensitive environments, born to imagine new fruition formats caused by the lockdown imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. As a final result, the project proposes various laboratory and performative modules and responds in an innovative way to the need for relationships and contact between bodies and to the search for new spatial conditions in which to inscribe the subject, the choreographic composition and with them the system of relationships that the active live show.

performance modules
Virtual dance performance lasting 20 minutes with two dancers connected remotely and one in presence on stage in front of the audience. The three performers, equipped with VR viewers, located in different cities and displayed on a large screen, will dance a choreography made up of new ways of weaving, gestures and contacts. A particular choreographic dimension that takes place in a virtual space created specifically for the performance, a new “place” to be shared that poses and imposes unprecedented compositional methodologies.

At the end of the performance there will be a workshop meeting with the public during which it will be possible to wear the viewers and participate in an immersive experience and develop a contact dance in virtual form. Participants/avatars will be able to use their hands with the same articulation and sensitivity as natural persons. Their relationship will activate an absolutely real experience – in the VR context – allowing you to experience a new sensation of contact between bodies.

3 dancers in presence and inserted in an immersive room with spectators (in presence and in limited numbers) control and process the images and sounds of the performative event in real time, through the choreographic sequences and sensors (live htc trackers). The graphic images of great effect and the position of the spectators inserted and immersed in a very engaging audiovisual scenario create in a combined and complementary way the fusion between the physical and organic part of reality (the bodies of the dancers, the spectators and the space / the room) and the digital one (projections, sounds and technological interactions).
The performance event can be broadcast in classic streaming (with 3 cameras and a video mixer).

social laboratory modules

It is a workshop that offers a group of 10-15 participants an immersive experience of about 30/40 minutes in a virtual gym, in which it will be possible to instruct and move the body / avatar through the real body, drawing on its experience and his memory. It is led by the choreographer Ariella Vidach who in addition to the role of teacher will also play the role of mediator, to provide the group with information on the functioning of the system and accompany it to discover the space created in the Mozilla Hub platform. After having invited and allowed the group to familiarize themselves with the space, the choreographer will teach a short sequence of actions which, once acquired by the participants, can become choreography and which will make their respective avatars dance. Through the repetition of the sequences, a choreographic score will be composed that will create a performative moment presented at the end of the workshop.

LIVEguidedTOUR in VR
A live guided tour through a virtual dance studio on Ars Electronica’s Mozilla Hubs: spectators wearing a virtual reality headset meet the virtual dancers and join a VR open rehearsal. Attendees can join the virtual dance studio of AiEP, visiting a gallery of interactive dance performances created by AiEP since 1997 and pose a question to the choreographer Ariella Vidach and the VR dance company.
AiEP Virtual dance studio 1
AiEP Workshop space
AiEP VaRt Gallery

All spaces are accessible from a PC or smartphone, but for optimal immersive use, the use of VR viewers is recommended.

A performative installation in VR, offers a limited number of participants in the presence – 4-6 people per session – a totally immersive experience, lasting about 15/20 minutes, within which they will be able to interact with a remote dancer to develop a contact dance in virtual form. The avatars of the participants and the performer will be able to use their hands with the same articulation and sensitivity as natural persons. Their choreographic relationship will activate an absolutely real experience in the VR context, allowing you to experience an authentic sensation of contact between bodies. Virtual Reality offers an unusual space / time condition and those who participate in it are placed at the center of a unique physical experience, which involves all the senses and in which it is possible to perceive and perceive the presence of others, experiencing a new dimension that opens up to reflections. on the limits and potential of the virtual.

All the proposals of DANCEtheDISTANCE are suitable to be realized both live, with the public in attendance, and remotely with a completely online or streaming use. During the project, a documentary video was made, a making of subtitled in English.


Direction Claudio Prati, Ariella Vidach

Choreography Ariella Vidach

Dancers Ariella Vidach, Agnese Trippa, Sofia Casprini; remotely Margherita Landi, AlessIa della Casa

VR/HR research and development MEETinetrmedialab / LCV_FABlab SUPSI / Archon VR

VR and Mozilla Hubs programming Giovanni Landi e Simone Verduci (ArchonVR Sagl) e Flavia Amato (programmazione / Unity)

Max/msp interactive programming Paolo Solcia, Riccardo Santalucia

Visual programming vvvv Sebastiano Barbieri, Francesco Luzzana

Lights and Scenography Claudio Prati

CostumesAiEP / Ariella Vidach and Claudio Prati

Coproduction Avventure in Elicottero Prodotti, Ariella Vidach AiEP / MEET/intermedialab/ Digital Culture Center / DiDstudio

In collaboration with MEET (IT) Digital Culture Center/ FIT Festival Internazionale del Teatro e della scena contemporanea – Lugano (CH) / SUPSI FABLAB-LCV di Lugano (CH)

Supported by Pro Helvetia – Fondazione svizzera per la cultura / DAC Comune di Lugano7 MiBACT Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali e per il Turismo / Comune di Milano