Call for Proposals; Digital Echoes Symposium 2017

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Call for Proposals: Digital Echoes Symposium 2017

Difference Forms. Credit: Synchronous Objects Project, The Ohio State University and The Forsythe Company

Dance Data: Libraries and Processes

“And as Jérôme Bel says, YouTube has become our first library, which changes everything but we don't really know how yet.” Jonathan Burrows. Keynote. Postdance Conference. Stockholm. 14 October 2015.

By the late 1980s, video was increasingly used by dance artists to document dance rehearsals and performances. However, libraries and organisations such as the National Resource Centre for Dance (founded 1982) were largely responsible for the provision of dance recordings for education and research purposes. This changed in two ways in the 2000s. Firstly, a multimedia CD-Rom developed in the 1990s by William Forsythe titled Improvisation Technologies, inspired other dance artists to explore the affordances of the digital for communicating dance knowledge in new ways. The result has been several artist-led projects involving the documentation, digitisation and transmission of dance, these include Siobhan Davies Replay, Synchronous Objects William Forsythe, Choreographic Language Agent Wayne McGregor and Capturing Intention (IMK) Emio Greco | PC. (1) The second development was the invention of online digital video streaming and the founding of YouTube in 2005 and Vimeo in 2007. A previously unimaginable quantity of various dance forms and approaches are now available at the click of the search button. Being digitised, all of these materials are available to data driven analysis and machine processing. In the case of Synchronous Objects, computation has helped translate the analysis of choreographic structures into new forms, new digital objects. For the digital videos on YouTube, tagging, liking, sharing, annotating and embedding throughout the Internet transforms dance into a new kind of information object; one that may be changing everything, but in ways we don’t realise yet.

For Digital Echoes 2017, we want to turn our attention to the generation, uses and distribution of digital dance data, asking critical questions stemming from the re-forming and re-contextualisation of dance through digitisation, about its effect on the ontology, form and potentials of dance (and data), about dance digitisation as an emergent practice and what it may mean for future artistic and academic endeavours, for spectatorship, education and disciplinary exchange. The event will include presentations from Maaike Bleeker and Scott deLahunta, and the UK launch of Bleeker’s edited collection Transmission in Motion: The Technologizing of Dance. Recently published by Routledge, Transmission in Motion takes several specific dance digitisation projects as a starting point for further scholarly reflection.

(1) see:

Call for proposals

The event takes place March 10th, 2017.


  • Properties: What do we mean by dance data? What are its material properties & affordances? What, if anything, distinguishes it from other forms of data?
  • Engagement: What are the implications of dance data for ways of experiencing, studying and analysing dance? Does dance data invite new modes of spectatorship?
  • Enrichment: Can dance data be enriched? What is the role of annotation, visualisation and taxonomies? Might folksonomies reshape dance knowledge?
  • Circulation: How is dance data shared? Which legal, ethical and social frameworks are followed? What are possible social/ political implications of open access?
  • Practices: How might dance data contribute to artistic/ computation practices? What can Creative Coding offer to the interrogation and reuse of dance data?
  • Understanding: Does data alter our understanding of what dance is and can be? Does dance and movement alter our understanding of the nature of numbers?
  • Contexts: What are the opportunities for dance data to open up inter-disciplinary dialogues? Which other fields hold potential useful insights for dance data?

With regard to the above suggestions, we would be keen to host in-depth analyses of extant or emerging dance data projects, e.g. the Digital Pina Bausch Archive, the Motion Bank Scores or digitalisation projects such as Tanz Quartier’s Mediathek and the impact of YouTube.


The open call for submissions to Digital Echoes 2017 is closed. The event is fully booked. If you would like to be put on the mailing list for similar events, please send an email to Hetty Blades: