Blog Post

The Interdisciplinary World of Dance and Interactive Technology (from Interactive Multimedia Technology)

I've been blogging quite a bit, but have neglected my HASTAC blog.  Here is a "reblog" of a recent post from my Interactive Multimedia Technology blog that I thought HASTAC members might find interesting:

After I finished my post "What happens when engineers and musicians get together? They get Calvin Harris "Ready for the Weekend" with the Humanthesizer and Bare Ink", I thought I'd catch up on the world of dance and technology.

I took a look at an on-line community, Dance-Tech.NET which focuses on the "interdisciplinary explorations on the performance of motion". I was happy to find that two people I know are members of this vibrant group of people:

Celine Latulipe
Dr. Celine Latulipe is a Human-Computer Interaction researcher at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. She is the lead in the Dance.Draw project, a collaboration between the Software and Information Systems department, the Department of Dance, and a digital artist.

 A Mischief of Mus Musculus

As Celine puts it, "You are more than your eyes and one hand. Why should you have to be less than you are when confronted with a digital device? Exquisite interaction is a collection of research projects...that aim to enrich your expressive creativity in the digital realm by allowing you and your collaborators to use more of your body in that digital interaction"

Visualization code was designed by Mike Wirth, using Processing, to create the art displayed on the Art from Dance page of the Dance.Draw project.

Doug Fox
Doug Fox
created and maintains the Great Dance and Kinetic Interface blogs. When he was 42, he decided to study dance - modern, ballet, and jazz. He is interested in the intersection of dance and technology, and more recently became involved in the study of animation related to dance and movement.

The following is from Doug's "About" page - the videos and links are worth exploring:
"As a starting point, I'd like to encourage readers to visit the

Movement Is at the Heart of Scientific and Technological Change background page. Here you will find 16 videos (plus links to more videos) that show in very concrete terms how new computer interfaces and digital devices being used in a range of fields are, in essence, body-centric and movement-centric..."

Here is a sample of Doug's topics:
Dance Theater Workshop's Twitter Community Choreography
Dance Vlogging, Will this Video Genre Increase in Popularity?
Shoot Dance Videos with the new iPhone 3GS
Prodigy Warrior's Dance Combines Stop-Motion Animation and Puppetry
Choreographing Gesture Controls for Interactive Devices (be sure to read the comments and link to Arizona State University: School of Arts, Media and Engineering)

Doug Fox writes about topics that are truly interdisciplinary:

Dance Your Ph.D. Contest - A Wonderful Merging of Dance and Science
This contest was funded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The objective of the contest? "Using no words or images, interpret your Ph.D. thesis in dance form".

Contest winners were paired with choreographers, who created a new dance work based on a peer-reviewed article in a scientific journal. (The Science Dance Match-Up Challenge)

I just had to post the videos here - you can read detailed descriptions about each video on YouTube:

The role of Vitamin D in beta-cell function

Cerebral activation patterns induced by inflection of regular and irregular verbs with positron emission tomography: A comparison between single subject and group analysis

A Molecular Dance in the Blood, Observed

Popular Choice: Physics Tango "Single Molecule Measurements of Protelomerase TelK-DNA Complexes."

For a look at the 2008 "Dance Your Ph.D." videos, and the the videos of the 2009 contest entries, visit the 2009 AAS/Science Dance Contest web page.

The four videos generated by the professional choreographers can be accessed on Vimeo.

Links to the scientific articles, the bios of the choreographers and scientists, and videos of the choreographer's renditions of the scientist's work can be found on the Science/AAAS website:

The Gonzo Scientist: The Science Dance Match-Up Challenge
John Bohannon, Science, 4/17/09

Usually I reserve this section for links and information from external sources, but this time, I thought I'd share a few of my opinions that are somewhat related to this topic.

Why do I think interdisciplinary pursuits are important?

In my opinion, to move forward, the arts and other disciplines need to embrace the interdisciplinary way of thinking. There is much that is mixing and converging as I type these words. There is less emphasis for young people to pick one little corner of a field of study and make it their life's obsession. I have always had an "interdisciplinary" approach to life, ever since I can remember. I attribute this to my parents, who nurtured me as a musical, dancing, artistic child to pursue my talents at a young age, and when faced with choosing a college major, to go for a double major.

My interdisciplinary nature has fueled my journey into the world of technology, and my early background in the arts probably explains why I'm excited about interactive multimedia, extending into the realms of emmersive games, multi-touch and gesture interaction, and technology-supported interaction that takes place in larger public spaces.


As many of my readers know, I work as a school psychologist in my "day job". I DO miss the time when I was working part-time and taking graduate classes at UNC-Charlotte, but when the economy went downhill, It was necessary for me to return to work full-time.

The upcoming academic year will be busy! With the recent budget cuts to school districts in the in the state of North Carolina, I will have another school added to my schedule. I'm excited that it is a high school for technology and the arts, and that the school has a strong dance program!

I've posted quite a bit recently, since I have plenty to share. Soon I will only have time to post about 3 times a week.




. . . to finally blog about Moonwalking, Lynn.   This is great.  We have quite a nice dance and technology sequence going on here.    


I need to dust off my dancing shoes and experiment a bit. I could use the exercise! Central Piedmont Community College has a motion capture lab in the Game Development department. I should wander over there some day and find out if they are doing anything with dance... I have a post about moonwalking that I didn't publish, but since you've mentioned it, I thought I'd give you a summary... My father, who recently turned 80, had terrible complications early last March when he had surgery to replace his aortic valve- the second time. During surgery, his aorta tore, and he nearly died. He had 3 seizures after the surgery while he was in ICU. In fact, he was in the ICU for 3 and 1/2 weeks! He was weaned off the ventilator, had to be fed through a tube in his nose, and failed his first few swallowing tests "miserably". But things turned around, and after many weeks, he came down to N.C. and recouperated in my home. He could barely walk with a walker. My dad made a fantastic recovery, and did everything the physical therapist told him to do. He graduated to a cane, and then was able to walk without a cane in the house. Somehow this ties in to Moonwalking and Michael Jackson. My dad was quite upset when MJ died. He said that he would never forget the day he saw MJ do his moonwalk, he was so impressed - for many reasons. He also told me that he would never forget the first day that he heard "Billy Jean". He was at a national conference for school counselors, and after the dinner session, the DJ came out, and put on "Billy Jean". Everyone hopped up from their seats and started dancing. including my dad and the other people at his table. Not long after MJ died, my dad asked me to pick up one of MJ's CD's, so I got him "Number Ones". As I took him to his neurology appointment, he said, "Lynn! Put it up LOUDER!", so I did. His response? "NO! LOUDER!!!!" Imagine this if you can-a middle aged woman driving down the highway, with her 80-year old dad shouting for her to turn UP the music. A couple of weeks later, I came home from work, and my dad told me to sit down, that he had something very important to discuss with me. Fearing the worst, I sat down immediately. He started to tell me a little story about how he was watching TV and heard some good music with a great beat during a commercial. He was walking back to his recliner, and noticed that he was moving to the beat, and then discovered that he could DANCE ONCE AGAIN! So there I sat, watching my dad, who was nearly dead in March, dancing, with coordination, balance, and rhythm, right in the middle of my familyroom. I think that all of the Michael Jackson beats got his dancing legs working again. I bet next time, he will have me sit down and show me how he can moonwalk!


Hi, Lynn,


Your dad is a genius.  There's lots of research to show that rhythm is hugely helpful in rehab after physical disability, and if it is a rhythm he danced to when he was healthy, even more so.   This is the most wonderful story!   I may just have to tell it (with anonymity if you wish) in my book.  If i use it, I will make sure to let you see anything i write and you can edit, add, or delete!   But, yes, many people also find that they dance after extremely debilitating accidents or surgery even when they cannot walk.  The deep rhythm helps the body to move.   And I find that--and your dad's marvelous story--moving!   Thanks for this,