Field Work in Motion: NiNi Dongnier on Designing Interactive Spaces

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

NiNi Dongnier in process for “1920 x 1080.” (Photo by Sinead Anae)

NiNi Dongnier in process for “1920 x 1080.” (Photo by Sinead Anae)

An article written by current BFA student, Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes, speaks on Designing Interactive Spaces through the eyes of MFA '19, Nini Dongnier.

At the Tisch Jack Crystal Theater in the East Village, dancers enter a stage with pulled wings to a score excerpted from Igor Stravinsky’s orchestral concert score, “The Rite of Spring.” They catch and let go of one another in whirling lifts, then morph into a sequence of gestures from upstage to down in the strings’ intensifying tremolo. The dancers lean into complex foot rhythms in constant suspension, the spaces between one another sometimes as thin as panes of glass. In a soft phrase of violins, two dancers adagio as the remaining dancers line up a set of grass balls and moonwalk backwards as if being pulled by magnetic fields. With a crescendo of the brass section, the dancers throw the grass balls in the air like kids in a playground, then throw their bodies onto the stage at different angles, only to immediately recover. As they continue this perpetual state of fall and recovery, a projection of a spinning, computer-generated, gray, 3D landscape map appears on the backdrop. Minutes later, the projection blacks out with the dancers’ final, synchronized fall. 

Choreographed by MFA ’19 NiNi Dongnier, the piece “Compound Rite: Utopia or Oblivion,” deals with the collision of naturalism with technology, the grass balls symbolic of mankind’s ideal state of the world. This 15-minute work premiered at the NYU Tisch Dance Masters Performance Workshop in February 2019. 

As an MFA student studying choreography and technology, Dongnier, originally from China, came to NYU after graduating summa cum laude from the Beijing Dance Academy. She attended classes with the Tisch Interactive Telecommunications Program, a department which advances the intersection of art and technology through creative collaboration. 

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