Re: Dance Software

Darren Kelly (
Tue, 5 May 1998 13:10:37 +0200 (MET DST)

Dear Dance-techers,

While you're dicussing software: don't forget that I'm working on my
gestural MIDI control software DranceWare++ non-stop. I haven't yet
decided whether I will keep it as my own tool, make it publically
available, or sell it commercially (which requires supporting the
software, various platforms etc.). Since I will probably live on this
soon, I'm reserving my options.

Also note that Rowntree3d seem to have something planned (commercially).

On Mon, 4 May 1998, Robert Wechsler wrote:
> Few are available "off-the-shelf", that is, few are products you can buy and
> then plug in at home. Most are still rather "specialized" requiring a
> more-or-less skilled operator, and obviously most require special, sometimes
> expensive, equipment.
I think this is closely linked to Robert's next point...

> Some of them work in rather obscure ways, by this I mean it is not always
> clear just which movements have had which effects. This may sound like a
> small point, but actually it is a large one.

I think this is simply the result of the range of possibilities of mapping
motion signals to music and light. I ask myself to what extent I can
render my software a "musical instrument", where the effect of an action
is very apparent. One approach is to store configuration representing
well understood performance paradigms.

> Unless there is some clarity
> between cause and effect, you can't really get much "interaction" out of
> them.

And exactly which of these lend themselves to performance is still being
established as we gather experience.

> Rather you have things happening automatically.

Well I think this is simply lack of experience. I certainly felt I had
insufficient control over my devices at first, but like all instruments
it takes patience and time. If you pick up a violin without any training
you generate an awful noise. It takes YEARS of training and learning.
Certainly for some performances it may be of value to have things
"happening automatically", but we are moving towards sharp control
and predictability (the sort I need to drance: drum-by-dance). It's not
as sharp as regular drumming, but it's getting there.

> That is, a true
> back-and-forth of energy and impulse means artists or audience have to be
> able to feel and respond to the secondary media they are affecting.

And of course this is the thing that is most missing in Drumming by
Dancing: when you strike a surface, you get immediate feedback. But with
loud speakers and lights the feedback for gestural MIDI triggering can
be enhanced.

> sometimes I go to the studio with my computer intending to spend a day mixed
> between moving and computing, and guess what? Sometimes I do not end up
> moving.

Now this rings my bell. I find myself thinking too much about the
settings, possibilities, how I could reprogramme things, tweak things,
improve things ... instead of just moving. It's amusing to see how
strangers interact with these things. I find they just move somehow and
note "if I do this then that happens", whereas I ask myself how I should
be moving, whether I could move a little better, whether I should change
the settings, whether I should (if maybe because how what where ????)

Does this ring your bell, Robert ?

> Well, that's my short discourse. I'm sure someone has compiled a list of
> software for use with dance (I would be interested to see it). We
> (Palindrome) have developed a few programs which anyone may have for the asking.

Gruesse and regards,


Darren Kelly, DESY -MPY-, Notkestr.85,22603 Hamburg, Germany
Phone:+49-40-8998-4569 Fax:+49-40-8998-4305
[NB: Residential address and phone invalid after 25th May 1998]