Drift with new york city ballet


Dutch artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of DRIFT bring their dancing flowers ‘Shylight’ in the Big Apple as orchestrated lighting ensemble that gracefully bounces from and to the ceiling while following the beat of the music. The site-specific, performative light installation of Shylight visually speaks the nature of New York City Ballet Art Series through the uniting movement of the flower lamps’ industrial motors coupled with multi-layered chalice-like structures silk.


As Shylight rises and falls, the collective trails behind the waterlike movement of ballet dancers, both of them slowly becoming resonant with one another. DRIFT has been tapped by New York City Ballet for its Art Series which aims to cross-pollinate the disciplines of performing and visual arts by annually inviting a contemporary artist to create a site-specific work of art in its Lincoln Center home.


With custom choreography supervised by the artists themselves, DRIFT’s Shylight offers unpredictable, natural-looking movements that shift into an object that feels alive as the dancing flowers descend to blossom in all its light and beauty, to subsequently close and retreat upward again.

drift shylight new york city ballet
images courtesy of New York City Ballet | photos by Andy Romer



Drift’s shylight draws from floral species


Along with a multidisciplinary team, DRIFT creates experiential sculptures, installations, and performances, uniting audiences with moments that inspire a reconnection to their surroundings. The studio team has flown luminous drones over incompleted architecture to speculate on how the resulting outcome might appear. They have also synchronized illuminated drones to wrap the Hamburg-located concert hall Elbphilharmonie with the light-emitting machines. 


Before visiting New York City Ballet, DRIFT’s Shylight graced Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Draws from floral species that close at night for self-defense, as well as to conserve their resources, the kinetic sculpture unfolds and retreats into itself in a blooming choreography alike the ensemble found in New York City. DRIFT’s dancing flowers in New York will be on view at three special New York City Ballet Art Series performances on January 27th, and February 3rd and 9th. The ballet center has opened the pool for ticket purchases on its site.

drift shylight new york city ballet
close-up of ‘Shylight’

drift shylight new york city ballet
DRIFT’s Shylight is accompanied with custom choreography supervised by the studio itself

drift shylight new york city ballet
Shylight is on view at the New York City Ballet until February 26th



project info:


name: Shylight

studio: DRIFT

artists: Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta

collaboration: New York City Ballet (Art Series)

location: 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York