Video Conferencing Dance Education Project (Vi.Co.D.E.)
Updated: Jul 5
Blog N° 1
ViCo.DE research ambitions
The ViCoDE Research Project has been designed and created to facilitate online dance classes. The project started in September 2020 thanks to the sponsorship of the governmental programme - Corona Soforthilfe des Bundes - and can be described as an ongoing project, even though it officially ended on 21 June 2021.
The aim of the project is to create a teaching format suitable for teaching dance online through the communicative tool of video conferencing. Over the past 10 months I have created several tools and teaching structures for anyone who wants to teach dance online, regardless of the style of dance being taught.
Starting on Monday 28 June, a series of blogs will be published every Monday describing the different stages of the project.
In this first phase you will find a timeline of the project, a short history and description of what we mean when we talk about video conferencing and which software is best suited for our purpose.
Phase I The researche
The research began as a result of the need created by the SARS- Covid-19 epidemic to avoid physical contact between people. When the WHO officially declared SARS-Covid-19 a pandemic on 11 March 2020, all activities involving close contact between people were initially restricted until they were finally shut down a few months later.
Although these precautions did not affect all countries at the same time and with the same intensity, many institutions and dance schools began to organise alternative solutions.
One of these was the use of platforms allowing remote audio and video communication.
These tools, which had already been used for years in the business world, albeit as a niche product, are called Video Conferencing.
The idea of being able to telecommunicate with other people, far away from us, was born at the end of the 19th century, but it is only since the end of the 1990s that the development of research has been able to create an accessible technology at an affordable price.
This has been made possible by the widespread use of the two most powerful information systems ever: the Internet and the Word Wide Web, which have connected the world and changed its course forever.
Since humans are social beings par excellence in need of contact and presence, this type of communication remained until last year only a tool used for long-distance meetings that were difficult to achieve, or for internal company meetings with colleagues from other locations.
In my research I could not find any material referring to the use of video conferencing for teaching contemporary dance or any other kind of dance consistently before the advent of the SARS-Covid-19 pandemic.
I could only find a few articles in the A Journal of Performance and Art that refer to some interesting projects in the early 2000s. These however refer to choreographic works not dance classes.
The first interaction of dance with media technology can already be found at the end of the 1970s and 1980s, but it was mainly artistic research linked to choreographic production or movement experimentation. Some great dance artists and thinkers of the time were precursors of digitisation. Rudolf Laban with his Laban writer LifeForm, Merci Cunningham with his idea of using the computer for the invention and visualisation of new movement possibilities.
Birringer, J. (2002). Dance and Media Technologies. PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, 24(1), 84-93. Retrieved June 10, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3246461
When Merce Cunningham Took On a New Collaborator: The Computer https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/01/arts/dance/merce-cunningham-computer-LifeForms.html
For more information:
Lisa Marie Naugle's article, -Distributed Choreography: A Video-Conferencing Environment- published in 2002 reports on a choreographic project presented at the Dance and Technology conference in 1999.
The project was presented live from the Web Café at Arizona State University to the Videoconferencing Lab at the University of California Irvine.
The choreography was transmitted with a two-way video-conferencing system via a broadband network instead of one-way web broadcasting such as streaming.
For more information:
Naugle, L. (2002). Distributed Choreography: A Video-Conferencing Environment. PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, 24(2), 56-62. Retrieved June 10, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3246553
I would like to mention a 2009 article by Helen Bailey et. al.
-Dance has been one of the art forms at the forefront in the early adoption of new technologies within its practice, both professionally and academically. Dance is fundamentally concerned with the live body living in space and time. New and emerging technologies have presented a serious challenge to traditional definition of these categories and therefore constitute fruitful territory both creatively and critically fro dance artist-scholar. Performance practitioner and theorist, Etchells (1999) suggested that ‚… theatre must account of how technology […] has written and is rewriting bodies, changing our understandings of presence.‘-
Bailey, H., Bachler, M., Shum, S., Le Blanc, A., Popat, S., Rowley, A., & Turner, M. (2009). Dancing on the Grid: Using e-Science Tools to Extend Choreographic Research. Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 367(1898), 2793-2806. Retrieved June 10, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40485623
Some interesting links below: