Computer Pedagogy in Dance Depts (nik)

Mark Coniglio (
Wed, 21 May 1997 10:48:01 -0400

>I'm in the CS dept. here at UCLA where everything is online. Take a class
>in CS or Math here all the hw old tests everything. People use usenet for
>chatty converstaions or to sell scooters. computers are a part of the

Nik, it is interesting that UCLA's Dance Dept is so under-supported
technology wise (though of course I have this feeling that you are
undertaking to change this fact...) But I wondered if you were aware of
your dept's involvement in the following:

Funded with $3.9 million from the Pew Charitable Trusts, a new, bicoastal,
four-year multidisciplinary project is addressing the ways media
technologies can safeguard dance's past achievements and expand its
potential audience.

Named after one of the most basic computer commands, Save As: Dance is a
project shared by the 4-year-old National Initiative to Preserve American
Dance, based at the Kennedy Center in Washington, and the newly formed UCLA
Dance/Media Project, part of that campus' Department of World Arts and

Judy Mitoma, chair and professor of the UCLA department, says that "the
challenge of this project involves turning technology to our benefit,
introducing dance to new audiences, educating new students, making the next
generation of dancers more intelligent and capitalizing on this moment in

article continues...

Excepted from the LA Times Web Site, the very long URL is

or search for "Mitoma" and look for the headline "Clicking On to Future at UCLA"
---- END EXCERPT ----

It is funny to me that, based on Nik's reports and the report above, it
seems UCLA's interest in technology is in using it to preserve old dances,
but not to make new ones.

Some dance depts are looking to include computers, however. Dawn and my
alma mater, California Institute of the Arts (just up the street from Nik)
is doing a lot to make their dancers computer literate. Part of the dance
school's basic curriculam now includes

- video editing software (Premiere), which they use to edit a video of
their work.
- audio editing software (Sound Designer), which they use to create a score
for their own work

Our friend DK who lurks here might be able to tell us more. The thing I
like about this approach is that they aren't just learning some word
processor, they use the computer in the creation of their work. This is

>in the next five - ten years the economic and political landscape of
>computing will be shaped. if the dance dept. here at UCLA is any indication
>it could take five years for them to get a decent computer lab and their
>faculty using e-mail.

Dance is not part of the capiltalism "scene" which is where computing
landscape is built. This is not just UCLA, but is universal. Of course, in
our humble way, all of the people that frequent this list will have their
own effect on the way that dance is part of the world of computers.

But I am curious Nik, is UCLA's difficulty becuase of lack or interest or
because of underfunding? I mean, as it is, they had to stop calling a dance
dept. and start calling it World Arts and Cultures, a move that, in my
pessimisstic inference, has a lot to do with getting funding for the


Mark Coniglio, Artistic Co-Director |
Troika Ranch |