Using algorithms to create a unique dance

Planning our dance algorithm

We came into our algorithm planning meeting not really having any ideas and unsure of where to start. For about a half hour, we bounced ideas around but couldn’t decide how to execute anything. Then, one of our group members mentioned the idea of doing a dance. You could almost see the light bulbs turning on above everyone’s head. Once we came up with the idea—make another group perform a dance using moves they choose from a stack of cards—the rest of the project came pretty easily. I must say, we had some great synergy happening. We quickly filled the board with ideas, and we really enjoyed coming up with creative dance moves. We spent a good amount of time thinking of moves that could work with the beats of the songs we chose to include.

Testing the algorithm--we had a lot of fun with this part!

The next part was writing the actual steps to the algorithm (see end of post), which took some time but wasn’t terrible. Our project didn’t seem to be all that difficult to execute—the only question we had was how specific our instructions needed to be. We decided we wouldn’t make them very complicated. After all, why should dancing be complicated? It’s supposed to be fun!

At last, our project was ready to be tested. We each picked a card, put on the appropriate song listed, and we executed the algorithm. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the dance moves fit the song. We tried the algorithm several times, using different combinations of dance moves and songs, until we were satisfied that it would work for another group.

On Sunday evening, we swapped our algorithm with another group. We performed theirs first, receiving a delicious Swedish Fish treat at the end. Then it was the moment of truth. We scrambled to write down a few additional notes on our instructions and then handed them our stack of cards.

Matt picks a card as he executes the algorithm.

I’m pleased to say that our project was a hit. The other group performed their dance to the song “Party Rock Anthem,” and they even requested to try the algorithm again. By the third time, our group joined in, and we had an impromptu dance party in the basement of Queen Anne’s Hall. Our algorithm project not only succeeded in getting a group of guys to dance using silly moves but also helped bond two groups of Digital Cultures and Creativity students.

Dance Algorithm by Jenny H., Kristen L., Jack L., Claire N., Beena R., and Dan S.

Objective: Follow the steps to create a four-step dance routine.

1. Take the stack of cards and shuffle them.
2. Lay the cards on a flat surface with words facing down and colors facing up on a flat surface so all cards are visible.
3. Choose 1 purple card, 1 green card, 1 red card, 1 blue card and 1 pink card.
4. Walk over to the DJ and hand him/her the purple card. On the purple card is a song that the DJ will play when the dance begins.
5. Lay the remaining cards out and read each one aloud. Each card lists a dance move. Study the dance moves (ask DJ for an imitation of the dance move listed on the cards if you are unfamiliar with it).
6. You will dance each move for 4 beats and then repeat the moves after you finish the 1st cycle (dancing the moves on the green, red, blue, and pink cards).
7. Take time to practice the dance (you can choose to place the cards in any order for the dance).
8. Tell the DJ when you are ready to start dancing.
9. Dance until the song is over or the music stops.
10. Repeat steps 1-10 to create a new dance (optional).
Our friends from DCC perform the algorithm!


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