2004 Production, The Bridge
About the Dance
There were two separate pieces in this production.
My work was showed in the first piece,
called A Link with the Darkness. Below
is a description in the program. It describes what
I intended to express in this piece.
A Link with the Darkness
Before technology... before telescopes... human and the
night sky were once linked by human's imagination and
creative mind -- myths and fairy tales. The Milky
Way -- the "lane of white powder" -- is
a sign of home -- Earth's home galaxy. The Milky Way
and the rhythmic patterns of constellation have sparked
so many ancient tales in different cultures. Now, technology
and urban development come with "light pollution" and
busy lives that make it harder and harder for us to stargaze.
Most of us don't look up very often because we cannot
see many stars in or near the city. Are we losing the
connection with the darkness? Are we losing the dreams
and imagination that once linked us with the stars and
the night sky? Do we want to reconnect with the night
sky, dreams and imagination?
express these reflections, I created animation sequences
of flying dragon, spiral galaxy, Earth and Moon,
skyline, and cave drawings to link the night sky, imagination
and the past in this piece. The flying dragon in this piece
is used as a symbol for the Milky Way which in turn represents
the night sky. The dragon's coming and going is used as
a metaphor of our seeing and losing sight of our imagination
and the heavenly view of the night sky. These animations
were created as 3-D stereoscopic animation using Alias
Maya and composted in Adobe Premiere. With stereoscopic
projection on a silver screen and circular polarizer 3-D
glasses, the audiences watch these virtual animated creatures
and environments emerging on stage with the dancers.
There were also two publications in Winston-Salem Journal
about The Bridge dance production -- one
published in Relish was an interview before the show
and one was a review after the first day of the show.
A photocopy of the review is enclosed at the end of
this report. Here are excerpts from a review by Susan
Gilmor, Journal Arts Reporter of Winston-Salem Journal,
December 3, 2004.
with 'A Link with the Darkness', a short but stunning
blend of dance and 3-D imagery. Be sure to
arrive early enough to grab one of the seats in the rear,
where the 3-D effects are most vivid. Put on the glasses
that you'll be given at the door and let the piece wash
see the Earth and moon hovering before you. Later on,
a tree appears, so close that it seems rooted
to the shoulder of the person in front of you. And at one
point, a dragon approaches and then darts away, leaving
a trail of stardust in its wake."
3-D effects, created by Yue-Ling Wong of Wake Forest,
are far more striking than those in last year's
collaboration, Fibonacci and Phi. Those were good, but
not this good. You may find yourself getting so caught
up in them that you lose track of what the dancers are
Kids seemed to particularly enjoy the stereo animation
with the dance. One young kid wore the 3D glasses to everywhere,
even in the restroom. Some audience seemed to have read
the newspaper review before coming to the show; when they
purchased the ticket at the door, they emphasized that
they had to sit at the very back row.
Construction of a 15-by-30-foot silver screen
Because the techniques of the stereo projection are based
on polarizer, the projection screen has to be a silver
screen in order to retain the polarization to give the
stereo viewing effect. However, commercially available
silver screen is too expensive and requires a permanent
framing. So, I researched for information about
silver screen and constructed an about 15-by-30-foot silver
screen on muslin. The process was painstaking and tedious.
A 16-by-33-foot muslin was laid on my driveway,
ironed to remove wrinkles. It was then brushed with a
coat of gesso. After the gesso was dried, it was
painted with two
coats of aluminum paint. The whole process took about two
full days. Then the aluminum paint requires 10 days to
cure and so the muslin was lying on the driveway for 10
days, rolled up temporarily to store in the garage when
Because the final results of the stereo effect were very
successful and satisfying, and the review of the production
about the stereo effect was exceptional, it was worth the
I created total about 15-minute of 3-D stereoscopic
animations, using Alias Maya and Adobe Premiere. This
involved hundreds of hours just in the
modeling and animation, not including the time taken
for the pre-production planning and research. The time
for rendering the animation sequence was over a hundred
animations are described briefly below in the order of
their appearance in the show. Note: The animations were
incorporated in the dance performance. The description
on describing the animation only. It will not be possible
to describe the dancers' movement with the
Galaxy fly-through: The piece opened without animation
but with a stream of rice falling on top of a dancer for
a minute or so. While the rice was still falling, the animation
of a rotating spiral galaxy started. With the stereo effect,
the galaxy was seen to have half in front of the screen
and the other half inside the screen. It was positioned
on top of the dancer and thus the same location of the
falling rice. The galaxy was slowly moving away from the
audience. The falling rice was visually similar to a band
of stars and provided a sound of rain shower. In the middle
of the animation, a comet flied from the audience side
into the screen. The comet was a metaphor of a dragon which
was in turn a metaphor of Milky Way or our connection to
the night sky.
Earth and Moon in space: The dance continued into this
second animation in which the audience saw the Earth hovering
in front of the screen with the Moon rotating around it.
The dancers were dancing right underneath the Earth. When
they moved from one side of the stage to the other, they
seemed to go right past the Earth.
Figure 1. A picture taken in a photo-shot session showing
the dancers with the earth-moon projection in the background.
A blue tree moving in the wind: A blue-colored oak tree
was moving in the wind with a night sky moving in the background.
The stereo effect made the blue tree look like it was standing
in front of the screen, and the dancers were dancing under
the tree. Cave-drawing animals, such as mammal, horse,
ibex, fighting rhinos, were then drawn slowly stroke by
stroke around the blue tree. These cave-drawings were copied
from the cave drawings found in Chauvet Cave. When the
dancers were moving from one side of the stage to the other,
it looked like they were passing right through the tree
trunk and these animals. Then, slowly the animals faded
away and the tree lost its leaves to become bare. The night
sky in the background was moving as usual. Then, a city
scene appeared. Then, the dancers danced without animation
but with hanging tree branches for a few minutes.
Crystal and dragon: A dancer soloed within an arc of growing
crystals (stereo animation). At the end, the crystal disappeared
to reveal a dragon hidden behind. The dragon flew up quickly
and circled once. It left a trail of star dust in its path.
Then, it suddenly disappeared, leaving the last trace of
star dust which fell down. The stereo effect made the dragon
appear to circle on top of the audience and the last trace
of star dust appear to fall on the dancer on stage; the
choreographer timed the dancer's position with the final
falling star dust.
Dragon: This was the last scene of this piece. The dragon
came back out without star dust, circled twice, and then
hovered over the dancers; again, the choreographer timed
the movement and matched the position of the dancers with
the hovering dragon. The dancers threw an imaginary ball
up to the dragon. The imaginary ball turned into a glowing
blue dragon ball in the animation. The dragon turned around
to chase the ball. Now, the dragon was leaving a trail
of star dust in its wake and flew off screen.
Figure 2. A picture taken in a photo-shot
session showing a dancer with the dragon projection
in the background.
How far the illusion of the dragon appeared to be in front
of the screen depends on the audience's distance from the
screen. The dragon would appear about half way between
the screen and the edge of the stage. Therefore, the farther
away the viewer is from the screen, the farther the dragon
will appear to be in front from the screen. When viewed
at the back rows of seats in MainStage, the dragon appeared
to be flying on top of the 10th row of seats. When the
dragon was hovering over the dancers for the ball, it appeared
to be on the top of the edge of the stage. However, the
majority of the audience did not sit so far back. The dragon
would appear a little closer to the screen. It would be
about where the dancers were about to make connection with
the dragon and throw the imaginary ball.