Traditional Dances of the World and Technology


Traditional Dances of the World and Technology

In a even more towards technology orientated society, how can we combine the costumes and gestures of the ancients with computers and audiovisual devises without loosing our connection to the universe and our roots ? High tech and corporal memory ?

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Latest Activity: Jan 14, 2019

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Comment by Maria Drazheva on April 15, 2011 at 9:23am

Dear Colleagues,

This object in the field of the traditional folklore dance is important and in-continued. According to my point of view as a choreographer we have to find new ways to develop and give dances to next generation.., to save traditional style on contemporary way.

I'm glad if I meet other colleagues share their opinion.


Comment by Vangelis Lympouridis on October 12, 2010 at 11:44am
Hello. I am sure there is lots of potential there..As part of my research I have created a system able to address many aspects of design in Whole Body Interaction for Dance and Performances. Instruments can be mapped individually at any part of the body and drive compositional algorithms that take care of the right timing and the pattern structures of each instrument and the whole composition. In this example the BPM was locked at the "Buleria" tempo (A particular Flamenco rhythm) but it can be dynamic also. The problem with dynamic BPM is that is more improvisation oriented rather than addressing a specific traditional structure. In theory most of the traditional dance could be addressed with the system after a short study of their particular structure and sound. Intensity was the key element to relate the movement to sound. One of the videos offer more descriptions about where the sounds were mapped. Try to observe for example the percussion sound linked to the legs of the performer. :-)
Comment by Shriram on October 12, 2010 at 12:17am
fascinating!! Could you tell us some more about the mapping of motion to sound? What kinds of body motions were triggering what kinds of sounds? Was tempo being changed etc?
Its less about knowing how you did it .. rather than more fully understanding and imagining the possibilities.
Comment by Vangelis Lympouridis on October 11, 2010 at 8:11pm
Hello, I have just found this group. That is a great topic! I also believe that there is so much knowledge on traditional dance practice which is excluded from the technological lenses as research or practice. During one of my last collaborations I have worked with a professional Flamenco Dancer, Marisa Dima, on an interactive flamenco system based on a full body tracking system. It was a first study, a proof of concept that can be used to create training systems or choreographed pieces including other performers, musicians and singers. If you want you can watch a couple of videos at my page:
and an older one :
Any feedback would be great!
Keep the discussion. I am very positive at the synergy between tradition and advanced computing. v.
Comment by ibeshe on July 16, 2009 at 2:45pm
hey, is anyone else getting spammed by a Beth Johnson? She does not appear to be a member of the group, but I have received 3 things from her in the last few days routed through this group. Do let me know, so that I can track down from where she is spamming--I have groups of my own that I need to keep clear. Thanks. -Anna
Comment by Shriram on July 14, 2009 at 10:04pm
I am glad you said this Michael .. it is what I hoped to hear in such clear terms:
"The tool maker need not be a expert artist to understand what is needed if there is good communication between the art technology creator and the artist. In fact, this is what I was hoping to talk about on this forum!"

This forum is invaluable for encouraging and supporting conversations between tool makers, artists and intermediaries ... who are not necessarily always different people but sometimes (maybe increasingly) even different aspects of the same person.

How do we begin to share expert knowledge / experience in traditional dance forms in a commmon language?
Comment by Shriram on July 14, 2009 at 1:55pm
... (sorry .. gotta finish that sentence) ... with much more self concious attention to what the new 'nt' culture might be willy nilly eroding from our environment and memory even while it has the potential to preserve, re-interpret, re-cast and just plain dialogue with it.
Comment by Shriram on July 14, 2009 at 1:48pm
I want to add that my use of the term "global cultural white-wash" was not conciously referring to "white" in a racial sense. I meant white-wash in the sense that a thorough white washing of a wall removes the differentiated textures beneath. But I can see how easy it is to read more into this phrase than I intended.

However, there is no doubt that in the field of computer animation, the world wide spread of digital technology, its exportation from the west to countries like India, have definitely influenced the aesthetics of what is produced with it, even when the so called content and intended audience is Indian.

It turns out that the technology is infact not such a blank canvas. For that matter when the canvas first made its appearance in India in the 19th century, it was not merely a material change brought into traditional practice of painting in India, it was intended to bring Indian artists into the fold of modernity, to transform traditional image making and perceptual patterns.

It is not the canavs or 'nt' per se but definitely the context of their proliferation that subtley (or not so subtley) also brings with it the common currency of a dominant aesthetic.

There is nothing alarming about the situation, except not being aware of it. One need only look at Bollywood to realize that imported technology is no deterrant to culturally specific growth. One needs only hear the violin (a western instrument) played in a South Indian classical music concert to realize that nothing remains foreign for long.

Some of us are compelled to watch and participate in this process of technological appropriation
Comment by Shriram on July 13, 2009 at 4:32pm
I am sorry to have not participated in this discussion for so long. First of all let me start by saying that for those working with technology, the overarching concern becomes how to get anything aesthetically interesting with it at all ... the how to obsession consumes the 'what' and 'why'. So it is with gratitude that I raise my head from a two year effort working with motion capture data of Bharata Natyam and participate in this discussion.

What dimension does 'new technology' bring to or take away from traditional dance practice in its native (and corporeal) context?

I am not a dancer. If I were, I may, like the majority of traditional dancers anywhere, be disinterested or merely amused by attempts to extend my means, repertoire or audience through technology.

I am an animator, who is dismayed at how story telling, body language in animation the world over is attempting to be so "literal" or "naturalistic" and as the ubiquitous art/entertainment form of the 21st century, it is slowly eroding our ability to read or express ourselves with symbolic gestures, stylized movements (that have nevertheless emerged from particular histories and geographies).

What we do with the data is of course as important as why we may set out to collect it. I can imagine facile, insensitive uses of motion capture as raw material that could do severe damage to the perception and understanding of traditional dance forms

On the other hand, motion capture of traditional dance forms allows us to bring into the digital realm (ancient) languages of motion and gesture .. for inspiration and analysis, archival of choreographies, precariously preserved sometimes only in the memory of one generation.

Most of all for digital artists working with motion, its about being in the epicenter of contradictions, forcing a conversation between the global cultural whitewash of technology with the colors of culturally specific, historical memory. What one produces as a byproduct of this encounter may also hopefully be interesting.
Comment by Julie N. Cruse on May 18, 2009 at 10:50am
wow. that's great that you are working on that, and also very related to my project. I'm working on the same thing... but not with mocap, with video, and not with traditional dance, but with contemporary. But it's great that you anticipated this problem of "aesthetic colonialism" within technology and are leading an effort to circumvent it.

I'm sure you have a personal story that goes along with this, as I do. We should meet someday.

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