Tango & Technology

There’s a new entry over at The Kinetic Interface called, “How Tango Dancers Would ‘Walk’ In Virtual Landscapes.” Some of you may already be familiar with the Great Dance blog, which has featured tango before. This new blog was recently started with the goal of connecting dance with technology: It “charts the development of new body and movement-centric developments taking place in scientific, technological and other fields. Choreographers and dancers, with their deep knowledge about the possibilities of movement, are ideally positioned to contribute to the creation of new motion-based interfaces for interacting with and directing many of these new tools and devices.”

This is an exciting goal, and it’s fun to see tango appear so quickly. This particular post comments on how much we as tango dancers think about walking, all the work we put into it and the many ways that it can be done – and how this knowledge could be put to work in the development of omni-directional treadmills for 3D virtual environments. I know next to nothing about the technological side of this, but my mind is already spinning with ideas about walking: How quickly we change direction, how we walk with intention, how we change speeds.

The idea of walking with intention is the most interesting to me. We use our whole bodies to walk, to communicate our intent to our partners. Could that same kind of communication be captured for working these treadmills? We all know that walking doesn’t just happen in our feet, so could there be a technology developed that senses our intent from our whole body? What a much more fine-tuned, responsive environment could be developed with that idea!