Evolution of Pan African Dances

Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award
Fall 2017

The main objective of this digital project is to explore the most effective ways of engaging and deploying Motion Capture, 3D Animation and Virtual Reality in the teaching of a fully online practical dance class. With regular face-to-face classes increasingly migrating to and making use of online platforms with the intention of allowing students to continue engaging and extending the classroom experience outside the physical classroom space, questions have arisen as to how such experiential, embodied, engaging, immersive and practical subjects like dance movement can be taught online? My digital project explores the perennial challenges associated with creating opportunities for online students to attain the exact or closest semblance of the actual practical experience involved in learning dance movements, skills and practices. Unlike a real live practical studio or lab-based face to face dance instruction, teaching a practical dance movement class online traditionally offers little immersive or tactile interaction, thus making it hard for students to engage with the material. In particular, the practical dance movements together with the step by step demonstration of dance styles, postures skills and techniques can be very challenging to impart through one-dimensional and non-immersive online teaching tools. This digital project illustrates how motion capture can be integrated with 3D animation, virtual reality and immersive environments to create an optimal authentic immersive learning experience for students taking practical dance classes online.

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