Re: On languages for describing suitable motions

Darren Kelly (
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 15:15:50 +0200 (MST)

Dear Mark and dance-tech,

On Sat, 18 Oct 1997, Mark Coniglio wrote:

> It will be interesting to see if anyone comes up with an instrument to
> sense a dancer's movement that is so compelling in its possibilities that
> it would be produced in some number and that several dancers would take on
> the task of learning to "play" it. Of course, Scott's point from posts past
> comes up now, in that most of the instruments I have seen to date are self
> contained enough for the non-technologically inclined dancer to make their
> own compositions with them.

This is exactly what I've done.

It's not the instrument in the sense of hardware which will determine this
(i.e. the front end technology required to measure motion), but the
INTERFACE to that, the mathematical mappings between those signals and
output devices, or to yet again quote National Instruments:

"The software is the instrument"

As I pointed out in my very first mail, my aim is get Drancing-A so sharp
(and to learn to play it so well) that I can really jam with it, alongside
my other instruments and with other musicians. I think I'm nearly there,
but I need time to upgrade my old control PC and rewrite the programme for
a new operating system. I'm sure others would claim they ARE there, but
as a musician I'm harshly comparing the Drancing-A instrument with tried
and tested ones. In any case the existing version is "compelling in its

As for getting several dancers to learn to play it, this is exactly what
I'm organising with a couple of dance groups, a complete musical
performance through dance. My device is cheap enough to reproduce for each
dancer. I currently use a simple cable connection, but will upgrade to a
five-dancer radio control system a.s.a.p. (as soon as purse permits).
Then the dancers can move completely freely across a stage.

I've also had the luck to meet a couple of Neumeyer's ballet dancers, ones
who are also interested in modern dance, and they're very interested in
trying it out.

The great difficulty is the infinity of possible mappings, each one
requiring a different performance technique. I'm developing a control
interface that hopefully makes this choice easier, although I'm yet to see
the interfaces you use yourselves. There are of course infinite
possibilities with a piano keyboard, too. Thus there is room for everyone
to contribute with all of these technologies and methods.

You don't need more technology, the technology already exists.
You need more maths and more control software. I, on the other hand,
need enough money to implement my economical ideas, some rest, and some
peace of mind:

Today's PLAY poem:
$1 Million by Darren Kelly

( Come = Wanking )
( And = Complementarily )
( Get = Grabbing )
( Me = Myself )


PS: My open invitation to visit me in Hamburg is now tempered by the
fact that my painfully slow old borrowed control PC is now rather
dead. I'm trying to organise money to buy a new PC (which will run
under real time Linux). Changing my control software to the new
operating system will no doubt take a little while, but by the time
the new system is up and running all of Mark's expectations will
be met. And some expectations he doesn't even yet have...

Darren Kelly | | |
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