Iris Garland (
Sat, 3 Oct 1998 10:06:47 -0700

At Simon Fraser University we have developed online courses in dance within
the School for the Contemporary Arts and the Centre for Distance Education.
The first course: Dancing in Cyberspace: Creating with the Virtual Body, is
a course that teaches the Life Forms software program and explores the
aesthetic and socio-technological issues of human body representation in
cyberspace. The course was first taught in Jan. 1997 with the Virtual-U
Conferencing system. Included in the first offering were professionals and
graduate students from the U.S., Spain, France, and elsewhere in Canada.
The second version of the course offered in Jan. 98, included dance
students, but also other students in Visual Arts, Film, Theatre,
Communications, Engineering Science, Computer Science. The mix of students
has provided a very successful interaction which has had a positive effect
upon the quality of the animations produced by the students.The next
version of the course (Jan. '99) will teach Life Forms 3.0.This course was
developed specifically for a totally online delivery, with no face-to-face

I hope to expand the use of Life Forms into the studio composition course I
will be teaching next fall.

The second experiment is in online dance education has been in the area of
dance history. I have used the First/Class conferencing system (Sept. '97)
to add an online tutorial to regular face-to-face lectures in History of
Dance: Origins to the 20th Century, and will be using it again in History
of Dance: The 20th Century. This is mixed mode delivery. I have been very
encouraged by the online tutorial, and the students were highly
enthusiastic. I believed they learned much more in the course with the
online tutorial.

Be forewarned: there is a pedagogical strategy to teaching online
successfully. And it is MORE, not less, work for the professor.

I will be presenting a workshop with Lisa Naugle at IDAT '99, "On-line
Learning and the Potential for Dance Education", if anyone is interested.

I would love to hear from anyone who is doing similar work, or would like
to collaborate in online courses from other places.

Iris Garland

>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)

Iris Garland
Professor of Dance
School for the Contemporary Arts
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C. V5A 1S6
Fax: (604)291-5907