videoconference rehearsal

Sita Popat (
Sat, 02 Oct 1999 15:35:44 +0100

Dear all

I just wanted to let you know about the amazing time we had at last
night's first Hands-On Dance Project video-conference rehearsal.
Everything appeared to be going against us - isn't technology wonderful -
and then it all started going right...

I had intended to do the rehearsal over the ethernet from the Research
Students Room at Bretton Hall (my university), where there is quite a
reasonable amount of space. However, first of all the ethernet connection
has a firewall which wouldn't let us use iVisit. So we thought, fine,
we'll take our own computer and modem. So we lugged my computer down to
the office at 5.30 last night and set up - only to find that we couldn't
dial out to the modem because they'd switched the phones to internal calls
only at 5pm. Aaarghhhhh! So I ran round the college looking for
somewhere - anywhere - where the phones were still on! I found a tiny
office in the dance department, and we rushed all the equipment up there -
moved all the furniture into the corridor and tried to connect to the
modem - it wouldn't authenticate! Oh no! Luckily a friend of mine had
come along to help with his powerbook, so he hastily plugged it in and
checked the number for his modem, and we used that instead, and finally
managed to connect to the modem - phew! By now I was a complete nervous
wreck!! It was far from ideal, as the room had lots of things on the
walls - shelves, lighting boxes, etc, so the dancers were difficult to see
against all the background. The connection was very slow through the

However, we had a fantastic rehearsal. We only had one person who had
come through the Web site. But we took the password off the listing, and
quite a few people dropped in while just surfing iVisit. Two of these
started out by making slightly lewd comments about the dancers, but they
stayed throughout the hour and a half, and by the end of the rehearsal
they were watching the dance and making constructive comments about which
movements they liked and how they wanted the dancers to move/relate to
each other. Directly after the rehearsal I gave them the URL for the
site, and within an hour one of them had made a submission.

Neither of these two had any particular interest in dance prior to this,
and one had only watched it on TV. Yet they were enjoying and criticising
contemporary dance movement. It was way beyond my expectations for the
first rehearsal!

All of us were thrilled by the whole thing, and we will be putting a
description and some of the text chat from the rehearsal up on the site.
The dancers called it "Sita's 2-hour Tai Chi class" because they danced
non-stop extremely slowly because the framerate was about 0.5 frames per
second! We can't wait to do the next one!

Hope you will be able to join us, either via the Web site or during the
next rehearsal - we hope to be a bit more organised next week!

all the best
Hands-On Dance Project