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Human-Robot Choreography Marries Modern Dance and Machinery

Huang Yi and his robotic companion KUKA take the stage at the 3-Legged Dog Art and Technology Center.

by Sami Emory
Feb 6 2015, 10:40pm

Choreographer Huang Yi’s dance partner is neither classically trained, naturally graceful, nor human. In the past few years, we've witnessed a fair share of dexterous robots and diva drones. Nevertheless, Huang’s performance differentiates itself with an good old-fashioned pull on the heartstrings. Known as KUKA, his robot isn't just a coworker—he's Huang’s childhood dream, realized with the help of German industrial engineering, and programmed by the artist himself. 

Next week, Huang and KUKA will perform their award winning duet of modern dance and mechanical engineering on the stage of 3-Legged Dog Art and Technology Center (3LD). Following the first official performance of Huang Yi & KUKA at Ars Electronic in 2013, the pair became a part of 3LD’s Artist Residency and 3LD/3D+ programs, and were able to expand their show into a full-length production. Throughout the performance, KUKA responds fluidly (by robot standards, at least) to Bach’s "Parita for solo violin and original additions" by Ryoichi Kurokawa. As the dance progresses, Huang and KUKA slip in and out of sync, mirroring the mutable relationship between man and machine.

Huang Yi & KUKA opens on February 11 and runs until February 17. Learn more about the Huang, KUKA, and their daring performance on Huang Yi’s artist’s page and the 3LD’s website.

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