Metro Weekly

Spotlight: S.J. Ewing & Dancers’ “Techne”

Dance Place offers a new, fully immersive 360-degree virtual-reality dance experience

S. J. Ewing & Dancers: Techne
S. J. Ewing & Dancers: Techne

For the first time since ceasing all in-person programming a year ago, Dance Place is gearing up to welcome back a few patrons at a time for a physically distant, on-site offering.

The occasion is the premiere of a new, fully immersive 360-degree virtual-reality dance experience from a local troupe known for its digital dance experiments. Techne was created during a week-long residency at the Brookland-based dance center that involved new projection technology and an omnidirectional camera.

Led by the company’s namesake, an Australian-born director and choreographer, the result is described as a 20-minute dance film “leveraging technology to bring the audience onto the stage and into the artists’ world [in a way that] delivers an entirely new perspective of a contemporary dance performance.”

Co-presented by CityDance with support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Techne is open to just four audience members per show, seated at least 10 feet from one another while wearing their own face masks, plus additional PPE that will be provided as part of their use of virtual reality headsets to see the film featuring company dancers moving around in the same space. The VR equipment will be sanitized and the theater ventilated for at least two hours in between each show.

Techne opens Monday, March 8. Multiple shows every day through Sunday, March 14. As part of the ticket-buying process, patrons must pledge that they’ve been free of COVID-related symptoms and haven’t tested positive within the past 14 days, and are also requested to honor the date and time of their purchase, with no late seating permitted.

“Since space is limited, we trust those who sign up will show up. We are not able to offer walk-up reservations or a waitlist to fill empty spaces,” the ticketing site counsels. Furthermore, ticket-buyers are requested to “help supplement our free and low-price tickets by purchasing at a higher price” — with suggested amounts of $40, $65, and $100 on the upper end of the Pay-What-You-Can sliding-scale system. Visit

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