Tango de Soledad represents a distinct phase of Cowie’s research into the performative and technical possibilities of stereoscopic dance. His focus in earlier works was concerned with bringing the dancer into the audience’s space but in his Tango installation the original space in which the piece was filmed is recreated, effectively bringing the audience into the dancer's space. A video of the performance is projected onto a wall made up to be exactly the same as it had been during the recording and, as a consequence, Tango gives viewers (supplied with 3D glasses) the illusion that they are sharing a performance space with a living, life-sized dancer.
Cowie’s research addressed questions such as, how far is it possible and practical to allow the audience the ability to view the dancing body from close quarters (as opposed to the conventional distant viewing position in a theatre)? Also, to what extent does stereoscopic simulation have the capacity to build new dance viewing audiences through the ability to install dance works for long durations, allowing audiences to be built up through word of mouth? The inherent attractiveness of stereoscopic events has encouraged many who do not normally attend dance pieces to be drawn to them.
This five-minute performance/installation of Tango de Soledad (2010) brings together Cowie’s choreography, musical score (Tango No.3 for Cello and Piano), poetry (Tango de Soledad) and stereoscopic filmmaking techniques, alongside the dancing of Amy Hollingsworth and surrounding wall drawings by Silke Mansholt. Tango was commissioned by South East Dance, supported by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Arts Council England. Featured in the British Council Showcase at the Edinburgh Festival in 2011, Tango has been installed in 21 countries on six continents and visited by over 4,000 in the Kyoto Experiment Festival in 2012.