Digital Dance Theater Pedagogies

Digital Dance Theater is one of the long-running projects I developed at the Digital Art Lab. Together with several groups of teenagers and teachers from the dance department I researched how we can make the potential of motion tracking technology useful for augmented dance and theater performances. Secondly, we’ve been working on methodologies and pedagogies to enable a collaborative creative process with the dance teachers and students. I focused especially on how we can make teenagers co-produce and take ownership of the creation of these performances. After experimenting with a Isadora, we went into the dance studio to experiment with creating a theatrical dance performance including trackable props, and trying out different visualizations.

These experiments served to understand and envision potential relationships between dance movements and various visualizations of the tracking data in different Processing sketches. The many experiments with Nicolet Sudibyo, Melanie Sloot and Charlotte Lam resulted in a  a 1-day and a 5-day workshop with a local school and two choreographies for the end of year performances of the dance department at CKC.

The first workshop Digital Dance Theater for teenagers was a great experience. Six girls (ballet/contemporary) and two boys (hiphop) joined the 4-hour workshop and created a 4 minute performance together. They made the choreography, the staging, and chose the interactive visuals and how to work with them. The interactive element was not utilized in full during the performance, and I’m trying to find ways to improve on this.

These videos show a series of experiments with several technologies and exercises to explore the possibilities and workflow with the dance students and how we slowly worked towards a performance (see last video).

This video shows the process and the final performance of an ongoing project with a classical ballet teacher and her young adults class (16-24 years old) at CKC Zoetermeer (NL). This performance is the result of the first course that ran over a period of 2 months, 30 mins a week. The kids developed a story about gamers at an arcade that get sucked into their game and start to live inside it. It seems serious and real – is this what parents are afraid of? – but they know that real life goes on after game over. More images on flickr.

In collaboration with Melanie Sloot, Nicolet Sudibyo, Charlotte Lam. Zoetermeer (NL), June 2011


Dance, Digital Art Lab