Scott deLahunta (
Sat, 03 Oct 1998 09:57:09 +0100

Circumstances for Dance and Digital within Education ??

>From 12 October - 12 November I will be working at the Laban Centre in
London investigating the current and future application and implementation
of emerging digital information and communication technologies in and
across their dance programs. That's a mouthfull -- but can't figure out any
way to say it more economically. There is careful avoidance of the word
'new' and the emphasis on 'current' means that I am very interested in what
they have been doing and in what they are doing now. I do not come with an
agenda of necessarily changing what they are doing. The Laban Centre's main
interest and mine is 'dance' education. Their students spend up to 12 hours
a day in the studio, learning techniques of movement and composition/
choreography, body awareness, honing their spatial (inner and outer)
sensibility in relationship to moving the whole body quickly and
energetically around a room large enough to do so, etc. I don't intend to
inundate them with futuristic scenarios of cyberdancers nor seat them in
front of computer screens (unless such an activity would definitely
enhance/ augment/ expand upon and excite, stimulate and inspire their
learning and development process in the studio -- which it might of
course). At the end of this period of research -- I will have figured out a
starting point set of practical recommendations and future plans for the
Laban Centre related to this intersection between dance and technology
within the context of dance education... and in particular within the
context of the Laban Centre.

It should be a very interesting and challenging process.

Sometime towards the end of this period which will coincide with the end of
Digital Dancing 1998 (in London), there will be a discussion organised in
the context of Digital Dancing on "intersections between dance and digital
arts within the context of Higher Education". This panel discussion will
focus on how Higher Education contexts for dance and digital arts can play
a more active role in current and future developments in this area.

It has been proposed (this may change) that the discussion consist of a
look at three main components -- curricula; policy; alliances -- and
attempt to answer questions such as the following:

1) What might a *curriculum* look like which would better prepare students
in both areas to engage in projects together.
2) What changes in *educational policy* might take place to more fully
support interdisciplinary collaborations and exchange of knowledge and
3) What sorts of *alliances* could be made by looking within Higher
Education (interdepartmentally with Computer Science for example) and
outside to industry and independent organisations which would be effective
and mutually beneficial.


What I am curious about is where others have developed programs and
circumstances in which the digital and the dance come together in higher
education - we should say 'institutional' situations. So, not the short
intensive workshops taking place in quasi professional domains... but
within the contexts of something which could be called a 'curriculum'.

One of my observations of some of the university programs and research
centers which are linked to the DTZ for example is that these do not appear
to have risen out of a dance knowledge base, but from a computer/ media
knowledge base... what I am interested in is growing digital related
circumstances out of something which would be recognized immediately as a
dancing context -- such as the Laban Centre (with what some might call its
conservatory approach).

Couple of particular questions:

1) are there any dance programs out there who have developed productive
relationships with a computer science program for example interested in
dance/ body knowledge and techniques of movement analysis
2) are there dance programs making efforts to bring motion capture
technologies into the dance studio and out of the commercial sites which
have only concrete floors and relatively little space (credit: paul kaiser
anecdotes from working on Hand Drawn Spaces)


If you are interested in the discussion during Digital Dancing, which is
tentatively scheduled 31 October... I am sure there will be announcement
posted by Illuminations at some point. If you are interested in the digital
dancing event in general (approx. 18 oct - 7 nov) ... i don't know if their
website is up yet, but you could check the archives of this list on the DTZ
to see the original announcement which was posted 17 July.



Scott deLahunta and Susan Rethorst
Writing Research Associates, NL
Sarphatipark 26-3, 1072 PB Amsterdam, NL
tel: +31 (0)20 662 1736
fax: +31 (0)20 470 1558