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Cisco and Tata Communications Choreograph Dancers' Reunion over TelePresence
Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2010
SHANGHAI, China - July 27, 2010 - Earlier this month, Cisco TelePresenceTM equipment enabled the first virtual dance rehearsal of young dancers of the Children's Palace in Shanghai and their counterparts from National Dance Institute (NDI) in New York. These talented children began preparations for their joint performance from opposite sides of the world using Cisco's high-definition, video collaboration technology. Today having performed with more than 100 children from NDI in New York, these young performers, "The Shanghai Five," will reunite with their loved ones back home who are beaming in from the Cisco® Pavilion at World Expo over Tata's global TelePresence network.

This event marks the beginning of an initiative by Cisco and Tata Communications to use technology to virtually reunite families separated by distance. The two companies will open their Cisco TelePresence facilities for two Sundays so that families in Shanghai can have a rich in-person interactive session in real time with their relatives living abroad. The Cisco and Tata Communications Family Reunions program will run for the duration of World Expo, which ends on October 31, 2010.

The children who are participating at today's family reunion traveled to New York to perform at the invitation of National Dance Institute, a non-profit arts education organization founded by Jacques d'Amboise, former principal dancer of New York City Ballet. Today, d'Amboise, along with Artistic Director Ellen Weinstein and several NDI dancers, joined the "Shanghai Five" to meet the Chinese dancers' parents who were in the Cisco Pavilion at World Expo in Shanghai. Over the course of their reunion, the children will share the details of their trip and what they have missed most about being away from home.

"Today's technology has the power to connect people in ways that were unimaginable 10 years ago, and Cisco TelePresence offers users an unparalleled real-time video collaboration experience," said Benny Lee, managing director, Unified Communications and Collaboration, Greater China, Cisco. "The Cisco TelePresence experience is a key aspect of Cisco's vision of a smart and connected life, and by reconnecting families, Cisco's technology is able to spark the imaginations of a wider demographic, from children to grandparents, and to change the way people live, work, play and learn."

"Tata Communications is excited to expand accessibility to TelePresence technology beyond the traditional role of being a tool for businesses," said Peter Quinlan, senior director, Managed Telepresence Services, Tata Communications. "Although these families are separated, they can use our TelePresence rooms all over the world in places like Los Angeles, Boston, Toronto, London, Singapore, and Sydney, to meet with one another face to face in part of this seamless global network."

The Shanghai Five have been participating in NDI's Irene Diamond Summer Institute, an intensive month long dance workshop, along with talented dancers from the US. While with NDI, the Shanghai Five have also been teaching their New York classmates elements of Chinese folk dancing.

"Dance allows these students to express themselves fully through both music and movement," said d'Amboise. "As they have performed with some of our dancers here in New York, these dancers embody two beautiful stories - one story they tell through their movements on the stage, and the other story is the one that they will tell their family and friends about this journey. Cisco TelePresence technology lets them begin sharing that story before they even return home. They share it through their smiles and laughter and pictures – elements of expression that would be limited by other forms of communication."

These students have performed in West Hartford, Conn.; in New York City at NDI's Summer Institute; and with children of Hunter, New York in collaboration with the Catskill Mountain Foundation.