Using pseudo-codes to choreograph a dance routine

I have never been a dancer. I’ve taken tap and jazz classes before, and I’m trying to pick up ballroom dancing, but I’ve never really been able to find the rhythm. So imagine my horror when I found out we’d be having a dance competition in DCC.

Then, I found out that the purpose of the project would be to create a dance that follows a pseudo-code we create. Suddenly, it sounded really awesome. I’ve practiced some different types of coding, but it’s still pretty foreign to me. I thought that through this project I could get a better feel for how coding works. I think it’s so cool that you can learn how a computer reads and processes data without even needing a computer.

I was going to upload a video of us practicing our dance, but we decided that we want our song and routine to be a surprise. So here's a photo to keep you intrigued until Sunday. Check back early next week for the results! (Photo by Matt)

Pseudo-codes enable you to learn the structure and basic language of programming. A pseudo-code is essentially a shorthand outline of a process that is easier for humans to read than a normal code because it turns English (or I guess your language of choice) into exact instructions, avoiding ambiguity. By defining your inputs, process, and outputs, you can use pseudo-codes to create instructions to do almost anything.

Our project was to create a pseudo-code for a dance, but there are so many other options out there. Other activities you could express through pseudo-code could be a card game, baking cookies, or even playing a sport, like volleyball. In volleyball, you could use if-then statements to show how you should react depending on how the ball is coming to you. If it’s coming high, then use your hands. If a player on your team passes you the ball, then spike it over the net. In cards, you could explain the values or meaning of cards and then how to play your turn. For making cookies, you could define the ingredients—flour, sugar, eggs, chocolate chips, etc.—then define the process of how you’ll go about putting those ingredients together to reach the output, which would be delicious cookies. As it turns out, pseudo-codes can be used to create an effective set of instructions.

Some of the computer science majors I talked to complained that this project wasn’t teaching us how coding worked because our codes were “fake,” but I have to disagree. I don’t know much about codes, but I see how this project is beneficial. We’re not learning one specific computer language—we’re instead learning the general structure of codes and how to write them. The more specific language comes later, if we choose to continue learning codes. I love how these projects get everyone involved too. In this project, we had comp sci and engineering majors wrapped up in the code and four other people discussing music options, choreography, and costume design. This project has shown us how our different backgrounds and interests can come together to fulfill one common goal.

One last photo to keep you intrigued...

Click the links to download our pseudo code and our pseudo code trials.



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