Roboballet: The Dance of Death between Humans and Machines


Finnish artists Sini Majuri and Marja Hepo-aho created Roboballet, a dystopian tale of man and machine locked in a dance of death. The performance unfolds as ballet dancer Mira Ollila takes to the stage to engage in a battle with Boston Dynamics‘ fearsome Spot robot dog, a fight that is destined to end in tragedy.

Boston Dynamics, Craneworks Oy, Ballet Finland, Genelec, Aalto University, Alexander Theatre, Officer’s Club Suomenlinna and Suomenlinna Sea Fortress supported Roboballet

In the Roboballet, the story unfolds through the eyes of ballet dancer Mira Ollila and the fearsome Spot robot dog. However, the work’s unique projection mapping technology allows the audience to see the performance from both perspectives. The holographic projection showcases the similarities and differences between the two performers, highlighting the idea that foreignness often elicits fear, and we are most likely to empathize with those who are like us.

In terms of human choreography, it’s the work of Heidi Lehtoranta and Mira Ollila, while the choreography for the machine was done by Majuri and Hepo-aho. Image by Juha-Matti Vahdersalo
The project was created in close collaboration with the Robotics Department at Aalto University.

Glass sculptures in Roboballet depict human fragility and complexity. When the dancer removes walking sticks, the dance becomes a powerful expression of human spirit. Infinity Vessel project showcases glass sculptures at New York Fashion Week.

As the dancers move across the stage, the music and visuals amplify the tension, drawing the audience into a dystopian world that is both beautiful and terrifying. This work is a collaboration between Craneworks and Aalto University. The collective work features music composed by Petri Pulkkinen and Janne Jääskö, adding a haunting layer of sound to the eerie performance.

Roboballet is a testament to the power of collaboration and the unique fusion of technology and art. It is a work that will leave a lasting impression on all who witness it, with its haunting music, stunning visuals, and captivating performance in Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, Helsinki. As the curtains fall on the stage of Roboballet, a haunting question lingers in the air – what kind of partner is technology for humanity?

Images by Juha-Matti Vahdersalo and Kalle Koponen / HS

Read an article about Roboballet in Helsingin Sanomat Newspaper

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