In seventh heaven

Dance legend Blanca Li invites you to the virtual "Bal de Paris" in the former nightclub Le Palace. Mademoiselle Lili danced with them.

At the very end, a crowd gives me a standing ovation. I throw hand kisses off the stage and casually bow like a superstar. Mon Dieu, what an exhilaration! What an ego massage! In real life I get sweaty palms and a lump in my throat when more than 20 people are looking at me. But in virtual reality, all that baggage magically doesn't matter. It's not me who's celebrating. It's just my avatar!

I had no idea what was in store for me when I had the Parisian version of "Studio 54" wired up in a dark dance studio that Friday afternoon in the legendary Le Palace nightclub: a heavy backpack full of technology on my back, the Legs and arms connected to sensors. Finally, put the glasses on and I'm in for the first time, in augmented reality. In the so-called Metaverse that everyone is talking about now. Fortunately, it's not about the usual shooting, fighting and killing, but only about dancing and imagination. I am taken to a Chanel boutique where I can choose my costume. The "saleswoman" asks me to turn around: I meet my Chanel avatar in a virtual mirror: with a cat's head and an hourglass silhouette. Instead of my hands, I see those of a black woman on the bow-decorated sleeves of the suit. I only recognize myself by my movements in the mirror, I only recognize my friends by their voices. That alone is an incomparable, strange feeling. Then it starts.

With nine other players and three professional dancers, a crazy journey through time and space begins - first in a gigantic Parisian ballroom of the 19th century. I am free to simply stroll around in it, to observe the others or to ask the dancers and guests to dance. I put a real waltz on the floor with one of the professionals. We are then directed to a jetty and set out on a cruise across an enchanted lake somewhere in Italy, where mermaids with frog heads swim in sync in the water and real, cool morning breeze blows through my goggles in my face and the ground sways like real things underfoot .

After a visit to a garden labyrinth, where I learn that I can dance even through walls and hedges, a tram takes us back to Paris, where we dance a French cancan on the floor with other leggy dancers in a cabaret à la Moulin Rouge.

When we reappear in reality, I'm wet with sweat under my glasses and mask and just blissful. In the approximately 45 minutes as a dream dancer, I never left the approximately 200 square meter room - and yet I was in a different world.


The Spanish dancer and choreographer Blanca Li, who has been Parisian by choice since 1992, has not only crossed the boundaries between hip hop, flamenco and ballet in her long career, but also the stage shows by Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue or Daft Punk and the fashion shows by Jean Paul Gaultier, Azzedine Alaïa or Christian Lacroix choreographed. With this immersive spectacle, the artist has broken the sound barrier of dance theater into augmented reality for the first time. Applause!

Until about mid-March 2022 in Paris,