Introduction

I want to continue exploring the themes of relationships and intimacy in a digital age and use this as a starting point from which a piece of contemporary dance performance will evolve.

The project will be unique in that the entire process from conception to performance will be utilising digital technology in different ways and formats. I will use the conceptual process to explore the theme where the dancers themselves reflect on their own experiences with social media and the impact it can have on communication, or mis-communication and the consequences of this. Similarly through the use of social media the audience may have an influence on the choreography for example possibly using social media to gain ideas and measure reactions to assist with creating movement.

I want to continue exploring ways in which dancers can interact with the computer using a variety of hardware interfaces and how the computer can aid the construction of choreography and how my knowledge of programming can be used to help create new ideas. This use of digital technology from conception to choreography will then aid the next step of developing the digital aesthetic in the performance itself.

Why I am doing this?

The reason I want to take this approach is because this is an emerging area of work within contemporary dance. There are an increasing number of dance productions and theatrical productions where digital elements play a major part in choreographing and producing content as well as the performance itself. I want to try and allow a performance to evolve organically through the influence of digital technology. The two are not always considered to complement each other and I want to test this idea.

I have been experimenting with interactive hardware and programming in the last term to gain some ideas how I will approach this project. I believe that having a background in both dance and computing gives me a unique perspective and I want to draw on this to realize my own fully choreographed piece using digital technologies to help choreograph and produce aesthetics to the dance.

The imagery and sound for the dance will emerge from the ideas developed in response to the conception and choreographic processes. These will be developed naturally as part of the whole project.

I want to use this work to help me devise a greater understanding of choreography, the technologies that can be used to help and the impact on the final performance. Through this I will gain an appreciation of the entire cycle to build my own practice after University.

How I am going to approach it?

I will continue exploring affordable interactive hardware such as Leap and Kinect to communicate with software designed specifically for performance such as Isadora. This will be used to develop ideas linked to the narrative of relationships and build towards a final project combining ideas and areas identified to produce and create a contemporary dance piece.

Initially, the project will involve identifying time frames and areas in which to explore and work on specific tasks. I will use my web design and social media backgrounds to explore ways in which the audience can help influence the creation of the dance, my programming experience to explore new ways in which the computer can help in both the process of choreography and the development of aesthetics in the performance. Using all in a journey to organically develop a performance.

My studio practice work in the last term explored different ways of approaching programming. One approach was as “goalless coding” method, which allowed for development without being constrained by preconceived ideas. It can be a challenging method and works best when there is a clear narrative or starting point on which the ideas are formed. The alternative approach I explored was where I set myself tasks to program software, which performed certain actions. The benefit of having a goal is that it is easier to program however it can be detrimental to the process of creating a dance which would be a more flexible and organic development. In my project I aim to identify an area suitable for both developing programming and choreographing dance where they complement the other.

I aim to work with other dancers to test my ideas and work with to explore improvisation and choreography, in addition to performing by myself using my previous dance background to help me gain new ideas in choreography.

What do I hope the outcomes to be?

The outcome of this project will be a full-length piece of contemporary dance based on a narrative that I have identified. As this is a very organic evolving piece, at this stage there is no clear idea on what the end point will be. This is one of the exciting and challenging features in this particular way of working. The dance will be performed and documented to showcase my work. Clearly this will involve having to work through the whole range of theatrical production, arranging rehearsals and finding a theatre space suitable for the production.

This will be a challenging project, which pushes technical and personal boundaries. My experience and knowledge from creating the dance will encourage me to stretch my experience and knowledge further and become more independent in creating my own work.

In the longer term, I want to take all of these experiences and broaden out the ideas and concepts beyond dance and into theatre and other avenues having gained confidence in my ability to create independent work.