One of the reasons I chose to base my thesis around gestures is because I have this fascination with dance, and most recently, movements that are more human-like rather than choreographed dance routines.

There are as many dance routines as people describing emotions in love, such as this one. This video makes me feel emotional every time because it does an amazing job of telling a story and evoking various emotions. I would like to create this kind of relationship with the audience through interaction.

 

I decided to interview one of the dancers I worked with during the Creative Dance and Technology Lab, Katherine Rees:

September 12, 2017

B: As a dancer, do you pay a lot of attention to other people’s gestures of attraction towards you or other people’s gestures and their meanings in general?

I definitely pay attention to the gestures, how different people move their hands whilst speaking in general. Different dance forms have different levels of codification of movement, including what gestures might indicate. For example, ballet has a language which different choreographers use and develop to best express their choreographic intentions.

 

Gaze, mirroring movement, proximity of space would all be used to indicate attraction. But, I think this would generally reflect behaviour in real life, more than specifically related to just dance.

B: What inspires your choreography and the movements you choose to convey certain moods, emotions, or stories?

Past memories, feelings which are associated to these memories and also more abstract relationships to sensation inspire how I put together movement. Warmth, light, texture – how these make our body remember moments.

B: Do you feel like specific gestures repeat a lot in general dance choreography to express love and sex? I’m trying to see if some gestures have been codified in dance to express those feelings.

You would definitely see proximity (but thats spatial relationship) being a common factor. You would probably see lifts and contact work in contemporary dance, but again thats not really gestural.

B: How does the costume that you wear for performing choreography affect the gestures physically and emotionally if at all?

Costume impacts the movement greatly. If the costume didn’t allow visibility of the whole body and face, then the performer would have to rely on more subtle signals. If you wanted to highlight a particular movement (for example, the movement of the hips), then this could be highlighted by the costume, so then it draws the eyes to that area- like in the use of the costume of the belly dancer).

B: What dance moves would you use in expressing love interest?

Tricky! I probably would play with the gaze, how you might use patterns in space and the where the focus goes to indicate an interest. I would also look at mirroring the movement of the other person.

The work of Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello translates the physicals of the body into another media, usually sound or visual imagery. Since 1989, they have been working with this, using the body to create sound as a performative instrument. By attaching sensors on the body, the body could send MIDI signals to create a sequence of sounds.

From this interview, I found that proximity and mirroring are very important factors in creating mood and tension amongst the performers and for the audience as well. But also how important the costume is in terms of the overall experience and performance.

 

Another source of inspiration comes from a Sarah Alaoui, researching in interactive arts and HCI, choreographer, dancer, and laban movement analyst. Mainly in her studies of labanotation, which is a way that dancers coded movements so that they could record them in a physical format to go back and review later.

Gestures of love expressed through dance 1

 

This image comes from her presentation which explains the 4 parameters in which movement can be coded by lebanotation. This is an interesting way of thinking about movement, codification, and method of research. It can be used in thinking about how the performer with an interactive costume will be choreographed and how their movements will be limited.