Using GIS to Choreograph Dance

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Dance and show choreography requires a complex use of space that has to be timed correctly with dancers having to know exactly where to be. Given these details, choreographers have turned to GIS to choreograph their complex routines.

One well-known study by Ohio State University developed software to help track the movement of dancers over time to see their patterns, which was also then used to choreograph new classical routines.[1]  In this same project, ArcGIS Spatial Analyst was used to display the movements of the tracked dancers. Dance patterns have been filmed using mounted cameras that focus on specific divided areas within the dance floor, with GPS also aiding the effort. The cameras are used to triangulate the position of the dancers in 3D space. Each dancer can then be monitored to look at how they individually dance or how they dance with the entire group.[2] Particular dancers may overuse given spaces, noticeable through hotspot mapping or 3D mapping of where dancers land, leading to the choreographer to shift his/her movements to another space if one area is overused in a routine. Dancing in this case was recorded in time-slices and used to show how dance moves shifted over a given timespan. What has proven to be useful for choreographers is that dance routines can be studied for their physical traits, including the dance moves and where the dancers can possibly land or go to based on previous movements, along with the themes and story that the choreographer wants to display to his or her audience. Using the layering of physical and choreographed storyline can allow the choreographer to also experiment with alternative movements and possibilities of a dance routine, providing a way to develop new routines.[3]

ArcGIS Spatial Analyst was used to generate a density surface from point data created by a single dancer's  movements.  Source: GIS to Understand Dance, and Vice Versa, 2009.

ArcGIS Spatial Analyst was used to generate a density surface from point data created by a single dancer’s movements. Source: GIS to Understand Dance, and Vice Versa, 2009.

References

[1] For more on this project, see:  Synchronous Objects: Center Sketch. Also, see: GIS to Understand Dance, and Vice Versa, ArcNews Online, Summer 2009.

[2] For the analytical approach on assessing dance choregraphy, see:  Ban, H. (2011). Geographical Counterpoint of Spatio-Temporal Data, the Dance. In: Proceedings of the 25th International Cartographic Conference. International Cartographic Association, Paris, 2011, ISBN 978-1- 907075-05-6, CO-211.

[3] For more on how GIS was used to study physical movement and storyline in dance routines, see:  Norizan Esa; Leela Rajamani; Zuraidah Mohd. Yusoff. Reengineering Local Knowledge Life, Science and Technology;. S.l.: Penerbit Usm.

 


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