Creative Dundee

Dance and digital at Northern Lights Ceilidh

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Scotland’s biggest video games festival will this year be closed by the Northern Lights Ceilidh, an evening of dance, digital play and traditional music hosted by Abertay University.

The ceilidh will be held at 8pm on Sunday 10 August, to mark the end of the four-day Dare ProtoPlay video games festival, the culmination of Abertay’s Dare to be Digital games design competition.

Northern Lights Ceilidh will take the form of the traditional ceilidh, where storytelling, dance and song sit side-by-side, but with the modern addition of lights and animation that react to the music and the dancers.

Lynn Parker, Computer Arts Lecturer at Abertay University, said: “We’ve been working hard to bring together the historic form of the ceilidh with digital technologies, in a way that the technology feels like a natural part of the dancing, singing and storytelling.

“It can be easy to think of computers and digital media as very cold or impersonal, rather than being tools for art, expression and performance.

“We hope Northern Lights Ceilidh will show just how human and creative technology can be, from the personalised LED accessories everyone will receive when they enter the ceilidh, to the animations we’ll create from the light trails everyone leaves behind them as they dance.”

Digital Aurora Borealis will be projected on to a huge 6 by 3 metre screen, all taken from the movements and patterns created by the dancers.

The LED accessories have been designed and made by Lizzie Armour, a jeweller at Dundee’s Vanilla Ink studio, and 3D printed with the help of MakLab in Glasgow.

Clare Brennan, Teaching Fellow at Abertay University, added: “In Scottish folklore the Northern Lights are known as the ‘Merry Dancers’, and we’ll be turning our guests into the Merry Dancers themselves.

“The evening will be full of poetry and heritage, with a storyteller spinning tales and ceilidh music from Whisky Kiss.

“There’s also a Northern Lights Ceilidh app developed by local Dundee games company Quartic Llama, which will help anyone make their own Northern Lights on their phone or tablet – and add beautiful light trails to photos they take during the ceilidh itself.”

To prepare for the event, dancers and revellers can download the Northern Lights Ceilidh’s app, Lightstream, which challenges players to create their own digital northern lights. The app is available free from Google Play and on the Apple App store.

For more information about the event, and to book tickets, visit here.

Northern Lights Ceilidh is part of the Homecoming Scotland 2014 programmes, and is a celebration of the talent and creativity on display at Dare ProtoPlay.

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