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Government-funded 5G project will transform dance education

14 July 2021

DanceEast, a charity providing extraordinary dance performances and life-affirming participatory opportunities, is innovating traditional teaching by leveraging 5G and edge-rendered augmented reality.

DanceEast aims to develop an accessible, scalable and innovative dance teaching model that delivers remote dance learning experiences. It is a key partner in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport funded 5G Edge-XR project alongside; BT, The Grid Factory, Condense Reality, SalsaSound and the University of Bristol.

5G Edge-XR looks to demonstrate how 5G and edge-based graphics rendering can be combined to support a range of high-end extended reality (XR) services that serve a diverse group of industries, from Sports Broadcasting and Dance Education to Construction and Retail – creating new opportunities for UK and global businesses and cultural sector organisations.

This work will contribute to DanceEast’s ambition to develop digital dance teaching, providing access to a high-quality dance education for all – something the organisation has been working towards since 2016. Thanks to funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, DanceEast was able to livestream dance artists into schools.

DanceEast are innovators in digital learning and the 5G Edge-XR project will further enhance the learning experience for pupils by reducing lag and improving interaction by taking the dancer off screen and placing them within the school hall.

Students will take part in live-streamed AR dance classes, led by a remote dance artist who is presented as a volumetric video 3D hologram mixed into the real-world, using AR glasses. Dance artists will be able to remotely demonstrate, teach and engage with students, using a 5G network that supports real-time interactive learning due to its high-bandwidth, low-latency connectivity.

Newly implemented 5G networks have the capability to deliver high-quality Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR & AR) experiences as they can be engineered to offload data-heavy processing into the cloud, using edge-based graphics processing units (GPU) – freeing a user’s device from that burden. This makes the highest quality of interactive experience available to the widest possible audience – a key factor for DanceEast who are keen to increase access to cultural education for everyone.

DanceEast has a strong reputation for excellence internationally. It remains at the forefront of innovations in dance education and practice while leading the argument for cultivating dance literate audiences. World renowned choreographers including Shobana Jeyasingh, Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant and Hofesh Shechter frequently choose to present, and in many cases premiere, their work at DanceEast.

Lucy Bayliss, Head of Creative Programmes at DanceEast said: “We truly recognise the need for physical interaction but also the need to innovate and look at how digitalising our offer allows us to reach more people. However, our projects show that the best approach is a blended one – capitalising on the digital to bring new experiences, whilst retaining the best parts of the traditional.”

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: "I'm excited to see what our £1.5 million investment in this pioneering 5G project could mean for virtual learning as it helps dance artists teach youngsters to tango through augmented reality. 

"It is a fantastic example of how the blistering power of 5G can enable a wide range of new digital experiences that enhance people's lives."

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