INTERSECTING DANCE, DESIGN, AND MULTIMEDIA: A PLACE AMONG THEM
As the culmination of my studies through Elon University's Honors Fellows Program, I completed an extensive undergraduate thesis project in dance and multimedia with the guidance of my faculty mentor, Jen Guy Metcalf. After completing five choreographic analyses, I created an 18.5-minute piece based on my findings, incorporating original animations by Katrina Tumasz. "A Place Among Them" explores themes of human connection and routine through the lens of five characters on a San Francisco bus. You can read my full thesis here, or learn some of the key components via my dance portfolio.
Live multimedia dance performances lack a common integrational approach, especially in comparison to other arts forms. Despite the cultural relevance of this developing genre, the scope of academic research on dance and multimedia is significantly limited. This research sought to answer the question: How do choreographers use multimedia and spatial design to create innovative work that challenges the boundaries of traditional live performance? To answer this question, excerpts of five notable dance and multimedia works were analyzed, using Ohio State University’s “Synchronous Objects” as inspiration. These five works are Biped (1999) by Merce Cunningham, Infra (2008) by Wayne McGregor, Dance by Lucinda Childs (2009), Fondly Do We Hope...Fervently Do We Pray (2009) by Bill T. Jones, and Jusqu’au silence (2011) by Sophie Corriveau. The chosen works were analyzed for multimedia elements, movement themes, spatial design in the choreography, and synchronization between the multimedia elements and the performers. Similar to “Synchronous Objects,” the data from these analyses was then charted to match the timeline of each work, creating choreographic storyboards. Through this process, these analyses revealed that multimedia in these works tended to serve three purposes: To establish an aesthetic, to highlight the choreography, or to further a narrative or thematic concept. These works showed no universal approach for incorporating multimedia in choreography. How often and where multimedia appears in space significantly differed between works. Based on these findings, five choreographic tasks were completed, taking inspiration from the analyzed structures to explore different methods of multimedia integration. These tasks informed the creation of five movement sections that were then synthesized to form a full piece. This piece was presented in early April and featured a multimedia collaboration with an animator, using design ideas gleaned from the analyses.