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Alexander Whitley dance piece re-imagined as virtual reality experience

Celestial Motion is a virtual-reality adaptation of Alexander Whitley's 8 Minutes Celestial Motion is a virtual-reality adaptation of Alexander Whitley's 8 Minutes
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Choreographer Alexander Whitley has created a virtual-reality dance experience based on his stage production 8 Minutes.

Whitley’s dance company has partnered with the Guardian to create Celestial Motion, which is described as part of the company’s “ongoing exploration into digital technologies and dance”.

It has been made in association with Sadler’s Wells, which originally commissioned the show.

Celestial Motion is an adaptation of 8 Minutes, which was choreographed by Whitley in collaboration with physicists and is inspired by solar science research.

For the interactive VR piece, users are transported to a cosmic landscape in which they can either watch dancers in their human form performing the piece or switch to “ethereal digital figures” performing the same choreography.

It is the first arts-inspired VR project produced by the Guardian’s in-house team, which was created in 2016.

Whitley said VR presented an opportunity for dance to create and experience new forms of performance, and that exploring the creative possibilities afforded by digital technology was a “defining principle of [his] choreography”.

Alistair Spalding, artistic director and chief executive of Sadler’s Wells, added: “At Sadler’s Wells we’re really interested in how dance and new technology can work together to create a different language, and add a new dimension to this art form that lends itself so well to these kinds of digital possibilities.”

The piece is available free of charge on the Guardian’s VR app, which can be used in conjunction with the Google Daydream headset and will soon be compatible with Google Cardboard and HTC Vive.

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