Next up is VREC, a mixed repertoire of six dances that takes us on a virtual reality adventure with Fairweather as our electronic guide and narrator “Dolores”.
We don our headset and travel through a series of virtual worlds with stories told in a “choose your own adventure” format.
With Dolores aiding us as we make our binary selections, each virtual reality experience is communicated through several styles of dance, including ballet, Latin, hip hop, jazz, modern, and musical theater.
Unlike Coomer, who blended choreography into one single trip through a museum, in VREC, Moyano connects the otherwise independent stories, dances, characters, and locations through the common experience and portal of our VR headset.
I say VREC is reminiscent of The Twilight Zone because the VR experience and the worlds to which we are transported are mysterious, isolated, and somewhat dystopian.
Through visual effects and other cues, Moyano reminds us that the dancers’ characters are all merely creations of the imaginations of programmers. The experiences we share with them are only temporal and end as soon as Dolores brings us back to the main menu or, as we see at the conclusion, our headset runs out of power.
Throughout the piece, as was customary with Rod Serling’s iconic thrillers, I was constantly anticipating a plot twist or other surprise to serve as a cautionary tale from our POV journey through these otherwise non-existent spaces.
Standout performances from VREC include Beñat Andueza Molina and Rie Matsuura as the half human/half skeleton couple turning what initially appears to be a normal dinner date at Fort Worth’s Waters Restaurant into the captivating and haunting “Tango de la Muerte” and Nicole Von Enck and Joamanuel Velazquez (who also starred in the “Gems Pas de Deux” in The Story of You) celebrating their love and engagement amongst the whiskey barrels of the Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. in “Mile Stone”.
Although some viewers might see The Poetry of Expression: Part I as a music video and sightseeing tour, I assert that this digital release is yet another example of how companies that have typically been tethered to a theater and the separated experience of viewing dance from the detached plane of the audience can use more immersive digital media to introduce their art to new audiences and provide their artists with new and imaginative modes of storytelling.
The Poetry of Expression: Part I, which will be available for viewing through April 9 is entertaining and does an excellent job of communicating the personalities of Texas Ballet Theater’s choreographers and dancers.