Blanca Li Talks Robot

Blanca Li

Photo by Laurent Philippe.

On Tuesday night, the award-winning choreographer Blanca Li—who has collaborated with an impressive range of personalities, from Kanye West to Michel Gondry and Miuccia Prada—celebrated the US premiere her show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The multimedia piece, which took three years of research to develop, stars eight dancers interacting with seven distinctly nuanced robots, accompanied by an orchestra of self-playing instruments. “I wanted to develop a show where machines are part of the cast and we all work together, where we dance with robots and the musicians are machines,” explained Li. In the show, the robots impersonate human characteristics and emotions, while the dancers mimic the rigid movements of the robots. One robot is a toddler pleading to be cradled, while another, adorned in a sequin cabaret outfit, attracts the ardor of the male dancers. Li says her goal was to neither celebrate nor condemn technology, but rather to observe the growing role it plays in our lives. “I think our brain is the best machine,” she said.