Dancing endlessly with a VR headset - de Gelderlander

Dancing endlessly with a VR headset - de Gelderlander

June 13th, 2023

With VRtuoos VRtueel, Introdans from Arnhem offers an interactive ‘VR experience’ that almost automatically sets the user in motion.

Remco Kock, de Gelderlander

There is an emergency stop,” says Introdans choreographer Chantal de Vries to the young people wearing VR headset. “That emergency stop is very simple: take off the goggles.” Monday afternoon in Museum Arnhem. Young people from Kazou, a theater workshop for people with autism, have the honor of presenting the dance company Introdans developed by Arnhem.
To present VRtuoos VRtually and, above all, to experience it. With the VR headsets, the young people step into a virtual 3D reality, in which they start dancing almost unnoticed through assignments in a choreography made by Introdans.
“Blue hands?” De Vries asks the youngsters. “Yes? Then we will start.” The virtual reality is started. Through their VR headsets, the young people see that they have a blue and an orange hand, with which they have to hit moving blue and orange objects at different heights and avoid boulders.

Uninhibited and almost automatic dancing thanks to the VR headsets, photo Erik van 't Hullenaar

A blue dancing avatar acts as a shining example for the young people, who also see each other as avatars. The audience applauds as the movements begin to resemble contemporary dance.
“So, you’ve been dancing a lot,” says the applauding De Vries to a young man who has performed a real choreography without having rehearsed for it. Ruben Dieteren (24), who has just taken off his VR headset, calls the experience “oothing’.
“It was a beautiful world, with few stimuli, which is nice for me.”
Merle Thomasson (28) says she was afraid she would get nauseous. “Good thing that didn’t happen. You are so in another world in which you don’t experience social anxiety. The objects coming towards you make you move automatically, you become completely absorbed.”
The afternoon started with a different VR experience. A 360 degree 3D film, in which you are part of an Introdans performance, as a dancer. From dressing room, to behind the scenes, to the stage, where you can finally bend along to receive a round of applause.

The 3D movie was so realistic that Thomasson felt almost embarrassed. “The dancers talk to you, ask questions. You know you don’t have to answer, but still…”
Introdans choreographer Chantal de Vries beams after the presentation. “For some time I had been walking around with the idea for a VR project with which I want to get people moving in an accessible way. And then I heard a radio interview with Studio VRij, which creates VR worlds.”
The 3D film, shot with a 360-degree camera, lets people get very close to Introdans. “Experiencing a performance on stage is not something everyone get to experience.
But this is also an opportunity for people who, for example due to a disability, really cannot come to performances.”
“It is claimed about the VR headsets that people shut themselves off from others, but as we just was it also brings people together,” says Sammie de Vries of Studio VRij.
“Yes, we sometimes wear the headsets all day long. You have to see what we make.”
The target group of VRtueel VRtuoos is ‘everyone’. De Vries: “We want to take it to festivals, schools and nursing homes.”

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