Redefining ballet with artificial intelligence at the Leipzig Opera House

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now used in a ballet show? What will they think of next? AI in our phones… oh, wait

In a time when tech steadily creeps into the creative fields, the last thing one would expect it to be ballet. But as GK Chesterton once said, “the man who throws a bomb is an artist because he prefers a great moment to everything.” Thus, in the spirit of art, the use of AI by the Leipzig Ballet is an audacious move that pushes… nay, shoves the boundaries of artistic expression.

Called Fusion, this performance is collaboratively directed and composed by artist and musician Harry Yeff, as known as Reeps100 and Gadi Sassoon. The show will run until 8 July 2023 at the Leipzig Opera House in Germany.

‘Generative AI’ is used as a source of inspiration in all aspects of the production; from the score concept to the set design. Promising to redefine modern ballet and serve as a crossroad between body and machine.

Music, as ever, plays a huge part at the heart of this show. The collaborative talents of Yeff, Gadi Sassoon and Teddy Riley resonate in the composition, while choreography by Mario Schroder and stage design by Paul Zoller bring their vision to life.

Beneath the surface, generative synthetic voices are borne out of innumerable hours of Yeff’s training with AI. As an acclaimed beatboxer and an innovative force in arts and tech, Yeff worked with AI for many hours. He’s now, in his own words, “… a living, breathing augmentation.”

As the world waits with bated breath for Fusion’s debut. At the Leipzig Opera House, speculation is rife about political issues. This is the culmination of Yeff’s tutelage with AI as he seeks to upend the stuffy atmosphere that a ballet usually cultivates. This is a new world, one where AI can still prove its usefulness and we, as the audience, will bear witness no matter what the outcome is.

Leipzig Opera House

Photo by Ida Zenna