Dancing About Technology in HackPolitik

A new ballet about hackers celebrates the humanity behind the Internet.


Photograph by Jody Rogac

Back in 2010, the hacker group Anonymous grabbed headlines for launching a series of cyber attacks against companies and governments in the name of free speech. Perhaps only one person read those news stories and thought, That would make a great idea for a ballet. That man was local composer Peter Van Zandt Lane.

The resulting ballet, HackPolitik, premieres in Boston this month, presented by the Juventas New Music Ensemble. Dancers will portray real-life online activists. “The concept at first may be a little odd,” Lane concedes, “but then you realize that it’s just a story about people.”

Since the story is about people sitting behind computers, the challenge for Lane and choreographer Kate Ladenheim was translating cyberspace into music and motion—“a physical representation of ones and zeros,” Lane says. Judge for yourself whether they succeeded on November 15 and 16 at the Boston University Dance Theater.