REPLICASMiddlesbrough – Do you touch your phone more than your partner? Choreographer Jennifer Essex wants to know how our obsession with smartphones is affecting our closest relationships. For the past two years, she has been working on a new dance inspired by the text messages of real couples in love. The new work fuses technology and dance, using an innovative website to send texts to the audience live during the performance.

The production will premiere at the Stockton International Riverside Festival this summer. On the specially built website, www.replicasdance.com, audience can not only read the original text messages used to create the dance, but also upload images they capture of the performance via Instagram or Twitter and play games which put a focus on how easily text messages can be misinterpreted. Brave users can also upload the funniest/most romantic/strangest text message they’ve ever received for a chance to win tickets to an intimate show at a secret Middlesbrough location August 15 th

“Research by Communications regulator Ofcom suggests that Britons now spend more time using technology than they do sleeping. We spend an enormous amount of time communicating through our phones now, and the change has happened incredibly quickly.

As a dancer, I’m interested in how this switch from communicating through conversations and body language to communicating through emojis and text messages is affecting our relationships.”

Jennifer Essex – Choreographer

Through inventive ballet and breaking inspired choreography, REPLICAS examines questions at the forefront of our culture: how communication is changing in the digital age, what is to be lost and what can be gained by our new intimacy with technology and what is the role of touch in our time – can we be touched by technology?

About the company:

Jennifer Essex

Canadian born Jennifer Essex works as a dancer, dance-maker, and teacher on projects across the UK and internationally. She is a part-time Senior Lecturer at Teesside university. Her choreography for award winning visual artist Corin Sworn was shown at the Whitechapel Gallery as part of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. She has developed movement for innovative projects including a stop motion film for French fashion house Hermes, an interactive video with the award-winning team from Studio Murmur, and a “choreophonic prosthetic” with high tech designer Di Mainstone. Jennifer has performed in the feature films Anna Karenina and Les Miserables and in adverts for Hermes and Honda as well as in works by choreographers including Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Liam Steel, and Luca Silvestrini.

www.jenniferessex.com