SOFTWARE   FOR   DANCERS:   THE   USER'S   GUIDE   back to main page
The information on this site is only up to date to 15 June 2004.
After this, the author does not guarantee any of the links to outside sites.


This project will take as a starting point the concept of a 'sketch book'; and how a digital sketch book might be developed to facilitate the choreographic process.** Here, the concept of 'sketching' includes any use of external representations made during the choreographic process: drawing, writing, scores and notation as well as video and still-image registration.


  • to design and develop software that will support the creation of dance
  • to create a system that facilitates an easy interaction with the choreographer
  • to create and build on cheap, scalable, and open technologies

Amsterdam/ New York Team: Susan Rethorst (choreographer), Zachery Lieberman (artist engineer/ programmer), Scott deLahunta (performing arts researcher)

UK Advisor/ Partner: Alan Blackwell (notations specialist/ computer scientist)

** The project builds and extends on "Software for Dancers" conducted in 2001 by Scott deLahunta in London (

The Amsterdam/ New York Team has a year-long research residency (4/04 to 4/05) under the auspices of Dance Theater Workshop, NY to work on this project.

Stage One: will involve the development of a questionnaire/ interview process (building on the research of Alan Blackwell undertaken during a recent collaboration with London based choreographer Wayne McGregor) to probe the use of currently common 'sketching' tools used by choreographers and dancers for self-reflection/ examination, for the collective documenting and sharing of creative ideas and recording notes for future reference.

This first stage will include the ongoing investigation of how extant software/ hardware systems that track, record, represent and visualize motion and movement might be drawn together under the concept of the ICS (from wacom graphics tablets to computer vision and motion capture systems).

Stage Two: will involve the creation of a new choreography by team member Susan Rethorst (starting in November 2004) that will incorporate the emerging ideas for software tools development so as to accommodate the limitations inherent to prototyping, building and testing software in a productive and collaborative fashion.

It is imagined that the ICS software will be realized as a suite or series of tools and/ or plug-ins allowing for a wide combination of media, from filmic and image representations to gestural input as well as integrating results from motion analysis. Developments will be built to connect to extant systems (i.e. Isadora, Eyesweb); and components such as the graphical user interface and file formats, etc. suggest challenging creative problems.

The aim by the end of the residency (4/05) is to be able to clearly demonstrate potential applications of the software in the choreographic process; perhaps towards the drafting of further funding applications.


Since 1975, Susan Rethorst has created dances out of New York City. Since 1995, she has divided her time between New York and Amsterdam, teaching choreography throughout Europe and Scandinavia and continuing to make work in both Europe and America. Rethorst's work has been presented by The Museum of Modern Art; The Kitchen Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Saint Marks, The Downtown Whitney Museum, among others, as well as at various dance theaters, universities, and festivals throughout the U.S. Internationally her work has been produced by The Holland Festival, Spazio Zero Rome, The Kunsthalle Basel, The Aix-en-Provence Festival, among others. She has ongoing teaching relationships with the Dansens Hus in Copenhagen, at Dartington College in England, and at Firkin Crane in Cork, Ireland. In 1999, she was the recipient of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2002, she co-initiated a new post graduate study programme in Choreography/ New Media at the Amsterdam School for the Arts.

Zachary Lieberman (USA) is an artist, engineer, and educator whose work is focused on exploring the creative and human uses of technology. He produces installations, on-line works and concerts concerned with the themes of kinetic and gestural performance, interactive imaging and sound synthesis. In 2002 Artist-in-Residence at the Ars Electronica Futurelab, Linz, Austria; in 2003, Artist-in-Residence at Eyebeam Atelier in New York. Working with collaborator Golan Levin, he created a series of installations - "Remark" and "Hidden Worlds" - for the Ars Electronica Museum of the Future focusing on visualizing speech; these were followed with "Messa Di Voce," a concert performance in which the speech, shouts and songs of two vocalists are radically augmented in real-time by interactive visualization software. The concert premiered at Ars Electronica in 2003 and is touring England this season. Lieberman lives and works in New York City. He is a professor at Parsons School of Design, teaching courses in audio-visual synthesis and creative image processing.

Scott deLahunta began in the arts as a dancer and choreographer. He has been based in Europe since 1992 where, as a partner of Writing Research Associates, he has co-organised several international workshop/ symposia projects in the field of performance. In 1996, he organised 'Connecting Bodies', the first conference in the Netherlands to address the overlap between dance and emerging technologies. Since then, he has continued to research and write in this area and has co-facilitated and participated in a large variety of projects in many countries. Currently, he is an Associate Research Fellow at Dartington College of Arts and an affiliated researcher with Crucible, an interdisciplinary research network within the University of Cambridge. He lectures on the new Post Graduate study in Choreography/ New Media at the Amsterdam School for the Arts and serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Performance and Digital Media (Sheffield Hallam University Press) and Performance Research (Routledge, London, UK).