VR-dance production opens in Taipei, raises awareness of ALS

(source: Taiwan Today)

(source: Taiwan Today)

An immersive virtual reality and dance production aimed at raising awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is underway at Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-Lab) on the site of the former ROC (Taiwan) air force command headquarters in Taipei City’s Daan District.

Staged by Tainan City-based modern dance group InTW Studio, “The Awake” faithfully portrays the challenges faced by those with the progressive disease. It is complemented by an emotionally charged short created in collaboration with Taipei-based Funique VR Studio.

InTW Studio Art Director Hsieh Hsiao-wei said on opening day Sept. 17 that the production combines the life and sensory experience of those with ALS, and was inspired by the ballet “Sleeping Beauty.”

According to Hsieh, it is her experience that ALS heightens the consciousness of the afflicted. VR equipment limits the movements of the audience while bringing them into the rich inner world of thoughts and feelings inhabited by those with ALS, she said.

Lin Yong-yi, board director for Taiwan Motor Neuron Disease Association, said he expects the six-day run of “The Awake” will help more people understand the nature of ALS, as well as the need to continue developing and providing leading edge support services.

ALS attacks motor neurons, cells that control the muscles. Those with the disease may find it more difficult to walk or move without support, eventually losing the ability to breathe without a ventilator.