Kama Begata Nihilum

Documentation of the dance, with the audience cellphone component shown in the corner of the screen when active.


Kama Begata Nihilum is about community and desire, about adapting to change, and about the ways we stay connected to, or disconnected from, each other. The title alludes to the classic film The Day the Earth Stood Still, which examines the ways that a community deals with unexpected interjections into the course of its existence. In this dance, the giant "iPad Man" is representative of our insatiable fascination with, and surrender to, the products of our imagination. Interestingly, these seem to take on a life of their own, out of our control. Our dancers define themselves as a community by the way they react to this influx of evolutionary creativity. Their journey is one of discovery, by turns playful and reverent, which we use the smartphone app to help the audience join in with them. The phones participated in the lighting design and showed Augmented Reality animations when pointed at the stage at various times.

The dancers were part of a group John Toenjes and Ken Beck formed at the University of Illinois called NOTABLE – the New Order Tablet Ensemble. This (somewhat short-lived) ensemble investigated the possibilities and capabilities inherent in the use of iPads in choreography. Out of this ensemble's investigations arose the app used in this performance, created by M. Anthony Reimer. This app later evolved into the LAIT application system for use in live performance (see link in nav bar, above).


Choreography John Toenjes, Janice Dulak

iPad and Smartphone Programming M. Anthony Reimer

Music John Toenjes, Ken Beck

Costumes Laura Molander

Lighting Joseph A. Burke

Projections John Boesche, Jane Seo

Dancers Andrea Chim, Abigail Elliott, Michael "Alex" Gossen, Kamila Kinard, Nicole Renfroe, Victoria Ronin, Katelynn Williams


Read the article about LAIT and how it arose from Kama Begata Nihilum