Digital Prize 2022

Future Rites

United Kingdom
Sadler's Wells Theatre

Future Rites
Collaborative and immersive, Future Rites is a multi-user virtual reality dance experience which invites audiences to play an active part, alongside a cast of professional dancers, in a truly unique interpretation of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.


Using cutting-edge technology and virtual production techniques, Future Rites is a participatory dance experience that immerses the public within a virtual performance environment and puts them right at the heart of the music and choreography. Using the motion-responsive capabilities of VR and the power of artificial intelligence, users can join the dance and influence the outcome of the experience.

Through what we are calling a ‘dance autotune’ system, we create a bridge between the world of contemporary dance and participants’ everyday actions. Inside the virtual world, users are given control of characters on which their movement, whether tentative or expansive, is enhanced by our autotune system to feel like it smoothly integrates with the music and the choreography of the live performers around them.

The system provides the basis on which the community at the heart of The Rite of Spring is formed and through which, their ritual acts take place; their gestures, their movements are not only part of the choreography, they guide and dictate the sacrificial outcome.

Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring is one of the 20th century’s most controversial works of art. Considered by many the gateway into the modernist era, the premiere in 1913 at Theatre du Champs Elysée, sparked riots between different classes of Parisians, shocking audiences with music and choreography that broke all the rules in their depiction of sacrificial dances of Russian pagan culture. Over a century later, the themes at the core of The Rite of Spring feel more significant than ever. Our communities, and the rituals that bind them, are being powerfully redefined by digital communication; and faced with a global ecological crisis, we are confronted with collective choices and sacrifices on a scale greater than ever before.

Artistic Team

Alexander Whitley is a London based choreographer working at the cutting edge of British contemporary dance where he has developed a reputation for a bold interdisciplinary approach to dance making, producing technologically innovative and thought-provoking stage productions as well as exploring the creative possibilities being opened up by new digital platforms. Sandra Rodriguez PhD., is a creative director (interactive/VR/XR/AI) and a sociologist of new media technology. For the last 4 years, she was founder and head of the Creative Reality Lab at EyeSteelFilm, where she explored futures of immersive documentary in VR/AR/AI. Sebastien Grenier-Cartier is CEO and Partner at Studio Normal, having been the studio’s Multimedia Environment Designer for over 5 years. NORMAL STUDIO is a collaborative creative studio of immersive experiences for screen, live events and public installations based in Montreal. Neal Coghlan is a designer and artist specialising in the intersection between virtual reality and live performance. Hyemi Shin is a costume designer who trained at Hongik University in Seoul and Wimbledon College of Arts. Clarice Hilton is a creative technologist and researcher specialising in Unity and immersive artwork. Donna Meierdiercks has 31 years’ experience in arts administration, which includes 9 years as Producer for AWDC, 10 years as Executive Director of Groundwerx Dance Theatre (US) and 2 years as Performance & Event Coordinator for the Southbank Centre.


Alexander Whitley Dance Company

United Kingdom


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