Moving Digits: Augmented Dance for Engaged Audience aims to enhance audience understanding and engagement in contemporary dance performances and to allow the experience of dance in an augmented way (even after the performance). Another goal is the empowerment of dancers, choreographers and technicians with further tools for expression, archiving and analysis. 

The project is a partnership between Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (M-ITI, Portugal – Lead Partner), Hochschule Düsseldorf (HSD, Germany), and Sõltumatu Tantsu Lava (STL, Estonia). Tanzhaus NRW (Germany) and the University of Greenwich (UK) are associated partners. The project has a duration of 2 years, starting October 1st, 2018.

To achieve these aims, we propose to use different digital techniques and artistic approaches to visualize information from dancers – specifically physiological and movement information. Sensors will be used on the body to retrieve physiological information from the dancers, such as muscular, cardio, and brain wave activity. In space, motion tracking will also capture dancer movement information from multiple perspectives.

Moreover, the collected dancer information will be visualized and shown to the audience using Mixed Reality (MR) techniques. It will be presented surrounding the dancer, following her/him, and enhancing her/his presence on stage. This visualization will be not only informative, but also artistic, and integrated into the overall scenography approach. Sound will also be used to convey dancer information. After the event, this information will be accessible for audiences and dance artists via virtual reality (VR) visualization.

We will develop these solutions with a participatory design perspective: in several events; working with contemporary dance professionals from different countries; with different types of audiences; aiming to achieve more inclusive and internationally applicable results. These solutions will be made available to the dance community as easy to use open-source software and we will also publish theoretical conclusions.

With this project, audiences will be able to feel more empathy with the dancers and to get “under their skin”, gaining an increased understanding of their physical state and movement. We aim not only to enhance the experience of existing dance audiences, but also to attract new ones. Finally, the project will also lead to a better understanding and documentation of movement in dance.

Project no. 597398-CREA-1-2018-1-PT-CULT-COOP1, co-funded by Creative Europe – Culture Sub-programme, 2018 – Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Union.

Photo courtesy of HSD – MOCCA Project