• Corporate philanthropy

First hackathon of dance & technology: “the most important is the experience and the dynamics of collective creation”

The DANSATHON is the first international hackathon of dance and technologies, organised in 3 cities on the initiative of the BNP Paribas Foundation, in collaboration with 3 big theatres partners: the House of Dance in Lyon, the Sadler’s Wells in London et the Theatre of Liège. Return of this unique experience of collective intelligence…

Short nights, crazy days but unforgettable memories

There were 90 dance, technology and design specialists selected from 400 candidates and nearly 100 resource people who came to support them with technical equipment (VR helmets, Kinect, sensors, etc.). All highly enthusiastic about the idea of participating in this world premiere, which took place from September 28 to 30. Some 72 hours and as many dark circles under their eyes later, they had created 15 inspiring projects combining dance and technology. They also learnt lots of new skills - technological, artistic, relational and methodological - and developed intense new professional and personal relationships.  The prototypes were often emotional, social, even therapeutic, combining technology with what is at the heart of dance - living links and connection between people.

Among the designed projects, we have:

  • Applications such as VIBES (winning project in Lyon)- an application of dance and sound encounters; 
  • Interactive installations in public spaces such as Double You and Danc@time (passers-by can move and dance in interaction with their double dancer projected on a screen wall in the city);
  • Prototypes of sensory shows such as Digital Umbilical where the viewer feels and hears the dancer’s breathing and emotion of the dancer and vice versa (winning project in London) and Cloud Dancing (winning project in Liege): an immersive, interactive dance show that combines dance and virtual reality to amplify the possibilities for disseminating the art of dance.

The three winning prototypes will be further developed thanks to a 10,000 euro grant from the BNP Paribas Foundation and the support of the three partner theaters: the Maison de la Danse in Lyon (House of Dance), Sadler’s Wells in London and Le Théâtre de Liège. They will be presented to the general public in 6 to 12 months. Some teams, even non- winners, have decided to continue their creative work, to enrich it… thanks to the feedback received from the public, the jury and the Dansathon community. 

Eager to grasp the spirit and the uniqueness of this hackathon of dance & technology? 

“Thank you everyone for a life-changing experience”

Very emotional to be in Plexal again [where the Dansathon took place in London] after these last intense three days. Thank you everyone for a life-changing experience! Let's keep in touch!!!

[Ivan ISAKOV, technician/engineer]

What an awesome event was Dansathon in Liège, I would like to say thank you to all crews, organisers and participants, some really nice stories began there.The value of the Dansathon from my point of view is the diversity of expertise, the great conditions for experimentation and the vision we had the opportunity to share.  All projects are really complementary and some of them are really awesome! One suggestion for next years could be a NASA partnership” 

[Laurent SILAN, web developer]

Such a rich and stimulating experience to have been participate it! It has been great to meet so many different talents and to have the chance to discover such a fascinating creativity. I was very impressed by groups’ final presentations. I wish to everyone exciting outcomes from this unique experience

[Jordi L VIDAL, choregrapher].

And among participants, there were BNP Paribas staff members!

Audrey, Cécile, Céline, Charlotte, Clémentine, Eric, Ehsan, Eloïse, Isabelle, Jeanne, Sophie, Michel, and Nuria, were just some of the twenty or so BNP Paribas staff members who took part in this unusual adventure. Our colleagues were committed on various jobs on the Dansathon, as specialists or transversal multi-purpose support. Some even played an active role in the creative teams as facilitators.

What motivated our staff members to take part? Curiosity about something completely new, open-mindedness, a real passion for dance, and a fascination with new technologies, innovation and methods for expanding collective intelligence.

As Sophie CARON, KYC project Manager at BNP Paribas Fortis, explains: “Applying for this Dansathon meant linking up part of my professional sphere of data and technologies with dance, which is part of my everyday private life.” 

An advantage highlighted by Marjorie CARRE, BNP Paribas Foundation, head of Perfoming Arts, as well as Dansathon project: “When we conceived this project, we were keen to help staff members bring their personal passions and skills to life in a professional environment, by getting involved in an artistic and general interest project.”

When we conceived this project, we were keen to help staff members bring their personal passions and skills to life in a professional environment.

Sophie Caron adds: “It was an extraordinary experience and I put everything I had into it to simplify the lives of my team members, guide them towards their goal, listen to them, help them formulate ideas, and structure their creativity to obtain a joint result, while keeping an eye on time management”. Cécile BELLACHES, who already understood how powerful collaborative methods can be, confirms: “My take-away from the Dansathon is that you can build wonderful things in three days through collective intelligence and the immersive nature of the hackathon format. We could use this even more at the bank!”

the adventure in which these 200 participants took part in is definitely a creative and truly human, one-of-a kind experience.

FOCUS on the VIBES project, winner in Lyon


The winning project in Lyon is VIBES, an app which enables you to meet up for a choreographed & musical dance moment. Users of the app can meet up, similarly to a “flash mob”. This meeting can occur simultaneously in different cities and countries. Equipped with a Bluetooth speaker or headphones, the dancers improvise together a dance piece guided by the voice of a choreographer through the app. Users, hence dancers can even co-create the music soundtrack which varies according to the speed of their movements.

This app called VIBES was designed by a team in Lyon and is still only a prototype. The jury chose it because you can reach new dance audiences in a fun, creative way. It brings together single people to dance in groups in the same city, or even in different cities or countries. “You can imagine a whole library of different dance worlds, offered by different choreographers,” explains the group's choreographer, Eric MINH CUONG CASTAING. Users could organise a clubbing meeting, to celebrate by dancing, or a dance session more like yoga where you can refocus yourself, or a tango-improvisation encounter or a shared contemporary dance improvisation inspired by Pina Bausch, etc.

Photo header: CLOUD DANCING Team- Dansathon, Theatre of Liège, Belgium.
From links to right: Emily KIRWAN (Designer), Julia HOUDIN (Dancer), JY (Sound designer), Roman MILETITCH (Technician/Maker), Sophie CARON (facilitator), Aurélien MERCERON (Developer), Guida MAURICIO (Choreographer).  
Photo: Dominique HOUCMANT

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