Dancing with Sheldon workshop

DANCING WITH SHELDON: Code the algorithm of the Jedi in you!

It’s a workshop to examines how technology can translate the vocabulary of a performing body into code, disrupt it and create a new one. it’s designed for artificial intelligence academics, interactive installations developers, dancers and musicians.

The workshop integrates methodologies of body expressivity with the interactive system Wearable_SuperNow, bracelets with motion capture sensors that allow to control the sound through body movements, and “Dancing with Sheldon”, a movement sequence generator software, to learn movement qualities.

The participants, wearing the motion capture sensors, will explore how to change the physical quality of their movements transforming one music sequence into a generative system of music variations. At the end we will compose together a group performance.


Dancing with Sheldon is a software to generate dance sequences developed as part of Design Methodologies to apply programming code to the study of physical coordination and choreographic composition.

I transcribed the code of the semantic of 3 dance techniques (BMC, Cunningham and Flying Low by David Zambrano) into a digital tool.

Cunningham technique works on the ability to change direction at will and play with a dynamic range of speeds from fast to slow and vice versa.

Flying Low explores the primary laws of physics, cohesion and expansion, utilizing simple movement patterns, speed, spiralling and the release of energy, to activate the relationship between the centre and the joints.

Body Mind Centering is a technique to visualize the effects on the body of different body systems coordination’s. It started as an experiential study, developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, based on the embodiment and application of anatomical, physiological, psychophysical and developmental principles, utilizing movement, touch, voice and mind. Its uniqueness lies in the specificity with which each of the body systems can be personally embodied and integrated. Developmental repatterning in the context of self-discovery and openness. Each person is both the student and the subject matter and the underlying goal is to discover the ease that underlies transformation.

Dancing with Sheldon translates the principles of these 3 techniques into coding parameters and apply them into specific tools for tempos and movement direction’s options.

This workshop offers a research into new forms of dance and choreography composition applying dance apps to the study of body physical coordination.

3 focuses:

1. One of physical exploration of the connection between arms and back and the different qualities of body movement patterns, using fundamentals of techniques like Body Mind Centering, Cunningham, David Zambrano and Body Weather (Min Tanaka).
2. Another one, in which we will experience, how wearing the interactive bracelets with motion capture sensors, change the dynamics of movement and choreographic sequences, thanks to their feedback.
3. We will work on how, varying the musicality and rhythm of the sequences, change the meanings and messages in communication.
It is directed to focus on the different patterns of movement, as an active mode of approach to the use of space inside and outside the body, and as a communication, transformation and intermediation tool.


1 – Through physical exercises will be explained and applied the fundaments of BMC (Body Mind Centering), Flying Low (David Zambrano), Cunningham and Body Weather
(Min Tanaka) techniques, to develop choreographic sequences, work with different movement’s qualities and analyse how each of them changes the meaning of the same movement.
2 – Physical consciousness, connecting the extremities to the torso in order to give weight to the movements this way control with more specificity the sensors and study how various arm movements affect the back and other parts of the body.
3 – It will be explained to the group how the interactive system works.
4 – The sensors will be made available to the participants to try the experience, while exploring space.
5 – We will repeat the choreographic sequences while wearing the sensors and analyse how hearing oneself, affects our fantasy and our way of putting the body in motion.
6 – Recording of texts produced by the participants or music in the sound library, of the interactive system to use as aural feedback.
7 – To conclude we will share reflections on how each one interpret differently the movement qualities and how is influenced by what they have learned from the other participants.

VIDEO dancing with Sheldon Workshop for Software Developers AI professors

Dancing With Sheldon 2016 by Paola Tognazzi from paola tognazzi on Vimeo.

Paola Tognazzi studied industrial design at the IED in Milan. Cunningham, Ballet, Flying Low by David Zambrano and Body Mind Centering at the School of arts SNDO in Amsterdam. In 2001 she graduated majoring in Dance Theatre Direction within interactive audio-visual installations. She worked as assistant of Sasha Waltz in Nobody, with Min Tanaka in Japan, with Nir of Volff – Total Brutal Berlin and as executive producer of interactive operas at Studio Azzurro, Milan. In 2008 she founded Wearable_Dynamics. Her work explores the sensuality of interactive systems and creates artistic experiences that involve physically and emotionally the audience, encouraging them the development of sensory awareness.