Hackers, gender-bending avatars, cyberactivism – not the stuff of your average ballet. But MacDowell composer Peter Van Zandt Lane is breaking the boundaries of this refined art form in his new ballet Hackpolitik. A collaboration with NYC-based choreographer Kate Ladenheim and her company, The People Movers, the ballet portrays a surreal version of the 2011 cyberattacks staged by “hacktivist” group Anonymous on corporate, government, and religious websites in which the main hacker posed as a woman and others obscured their identity in similar ways. With a score combining orchestral arrangements and electronics, the story explores how the Internet blurs the thin line between activism and anarchy, anonymity and ego, gender identity and personality. So, who’s who in this story? As Van Zandt Lane says, “These questions will all be dealt with through dance.” Listen to the music and hear the composer speak from Irving Fine Studio about how a barrage of cyberattacks inspired what we believe to be the first ever “cyberballet.”
When he’s not composing, Van Zandt Lane lectures in music theory at Wellesley College and in electronic music at Brandeis University.