Dance Dance Ribbon

In each culture, dance encompasses many distinct forms. Whether people dance for religious reasons, educational or for pure entertainment, in all forms movement helps to communicate emotion.

Every motion of the body has a purpose to share the meaning of a story. In a formal performance, lighting, sound and costumes are used to enhance this story. We are curious to see on stage, how software can also be used to enhance dance in real-time.

During the course we focused on how we can use software as a tool of expression. Dance Dance Ribbon focuses on visualizing dance by tracking the body of the dancer and tracing their movements with trails of ribbons using Microsoft’s Kinect and Processing. Specifically, we wanted to show that dance is a medium of expression, leading to different outputs.

While tracing movements, the program also saves a picture every few frames, leaving the dancer with images of their movements to examine afterwards. On each frame we show the time of the movement in correlation with the song, the spectrum peak of the song, and also whether the beat was on or off at that moment. For the final project we created a flip book and a poster from these images. Through these images, dancers and spectators are able to study the differences between types of dance.

In the future, we would like to explore the digital output more, possibly focusing on how the speed of the movement could change the output or integrating a physics engine with particles instead of ribbons. We also hope to concentrate  on how the stage can become more interactive and engaging.