Dance and Technology

On Monday I made a presentation at the conference on the use of Technology in Children’s Dance Theatre, held at FACT in Liverpool. I talked about my role as a digital designer for a children’s dance show called ‘A Different Tune’, which is currently touring, as well as giving people an insight into Isadora, a very nifty piece of software for  digital design.

I based the presentation on three oppositions:

1.  input / output

2. Values / value

3. media / idea.


The first aim was to communicate how Isadora can be used to take any number of inputs (sound, movement, colour, position, midi….) and apply that to an output (size, volume, position, speed, etc ). For this I had people cheering to make the screen brighter, waving their arms to make a movie go faster and turning two volunteers into a human mixing desk by having raise and lower coloured paper infront of a camera.

This then raised the question of ‘Whats the point?’. And of course there isn’t any, unless you have an idea to communicate.

Finally I asked three people to design an imaginary creature (based on my ‘Creatures in Motion‘  workshop. They then developed a biology and history for those creatures. And finally they created the sound of that creature. As they growled, chirped and mewed, the images of the creatures grew, but this time we had all invested a lot in their stories and ideas and so were  more deeply engaged by this relatively simple input / output.

I never generally like technology for its own sake and find myself often having to argue for the absence of it in shows. An audience needs to engage with ideas, not technology.