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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Exploring movement via 3D dance notation in VR

Exploring movement via 3D dance notation in VR

Relationshape is the first experiment part of [in my space] – a series of experiments that tackle the relationships between body, space, sensation, movement, and spatial awareness. Its aim is to create a movement tool (of both choreographic and explorative nature) using 3D symbols in a virtual reality environment that guide the user to follow an interactive score.

This is a concept video of the VR experience. It was created using Cinema 4D and is the first iteration of this experiment. The virtual environment will ideally be pared down while the notation will continue to evolve in a more refined and sophisticated manner.
Example of a dance score or phrase of movement
2D representation of the 3D dance notation – using basic shapes as guiding symbols of movement

Much like other architectural and geometric dance notation, including Forsythe and Laban, this notation operates on the principles of points and lines. By establishing the point’s spatial relationships, the dancer creates a link between their body and space and ultimately draws those connections.

While Relationshape’s notation can be drawn 2D, the score was created for an immersive 3D environment. Choreographic tools usually establish a set of rules by which creation stems. In this case, the rules are quite simple and encourage both dancers and non-dancers to explore.

Where do we go from here?

This project is being developed in VR, and the notation is continuing a process of refinement. I am currently working without a VR headset, as I have relocated to Canada for the duration of the pandemic- however, this opens up possibility and calls for working creativity.
I am hoping to conduct performances of the tool in VR online via live interaction. By sharing the VR file, those with access to a headset will be able to respond to direct input from my end. By either pre-recording a score for the user to follow, or live-coding a score (inputting game-objects/3D symbols real time), there is great potential for exploration of this experiement.


Currently, I am working on research for my thesis, which explores similar questions as my design work; experientially -the body in relation to space through the lenses of dance, choreography, and architecture. I am hoping to use the research to inform my ever-evolving design work and strengthen its practical and theoretical capabilities.

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