Dance Space

This studio will be concerned with the design of a mobile and experimental dance theater for a site in Boston and another site in Stuttgart, Germany. Dance Space is an opportunity to explore lightweight design and deployable systems for a performance space. The same studio is also being offered by Prof. Werner Sobek at the Institute of Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK) in Stuttgart. A fully funded field trip to Germany is part of the studio experience.Traveling performing art groups have entertained and enlightened their spectators since the Middle Ages and longer. Sheltered by simple tents and ad hoc constructions, the physical envelopes of these performing arts ventures were initially simple, but grew increasingly complex as both stage technology and building technology evolved. Modern day performers require an extensive backup of lighting and mechanical technology, as well as carefully calibrated acoustics that contribute to unfolding original and often experimental performances. Contemporary dance is a relatively young performing arts discipline that has parted radically from its classical counterpart. It has hybridized dance with installation and performance art, theater, storytelling and musical, to name just a few. Putting this art form on the road challenges our traditional understanding of performance spaces because of the highly dynamic and complex nature of the art form itself. The studio is concerned with the materiality and immateriality, the light and darkness, the sensual level as well as the mechanical workings of a mobile performance space. The use of lightweight materials and systems is at the core of this quest as these facilitate an imagined transatlantic deployment of the dance theater. Students are encouraged to think about the broader process: the spectacle of assembly and disassembly, the transfer between locations, the question of siting a temporary building. As the actual program is comparatively small it is essential to move beyond a conceptual sketch and actually developing the proposal into a credible design proposal. This inevitably involves addressing functional questions, and questions of structure, mechanics, and materials. All students will be expected to produce a tangible b