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Prehension Blooms: where AI robotics and dance combine

A man interacts with AI robot

World-class performers, immersive sound design and music, and ground-breaking AI robotic technology all combine in Prehension Blooms, an interactive dance show coming to Bristol Beacon later this month.

We’re preparing for our Foyer space to be transformed into an alien world of sand, where robot creatures lurk underfoot and dancers move to the cinematic, electronic sounds of Sebastian Reynold’s score. If you’re more familiar with our venue being a home for live music, this performance will be unlike anything you’ve seen here before, and could quite possibly have come from another planet!

Neon Dance are returning, after their captivating dance performance Puzzle Creature in 2019, with their latest enticing creation exploring the nature of relationships and themes of companionship and loneliness. We’ve taken a look into the rehearsal room to discover more about this fascinating contemplation on human connection.

Insect-like robots

Robotics are not usually associated with dance performances.

Prehension Blooms also displays the ingenuity of Bristol Robotics Lab, who, along with award winning visual artist Ana Rajcevic, designed and built the insect-like robots or ‘hōki-mon’ (rake monsters) which perform in the show alongside the dancers.

Workshops taking place on Fri 30 Sep and Sat 1 Oct offer you the opportunity to learn more about the robotic technology featured in the show.

A person's arm shown in focus with a small robot out of foucs

The way in which we interact with technology is so important to our daily lives that exploring this in the arts is the next step forward.

Calum Gillespie, Bristol Robotics Lab

Conceived by choreographer and director Adrienne Hart, who has received acclaim for previous shows Empathy and Puzzle Creature, the show weaves movement between the insect-like robots and dancers and invites audiences to engage with these otherworldly spaces.

How can we create a companion species that will help us connect better to others… we’ve been looking at different designs inspired by nature and we’ve got a turtle-like design. A sand painting emerges – beautiful patterns. It leaves a trace of itself.

Director Adrienne Hart, speaking to the Financial Times

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