Sonia Sabri has established an international reputation for presenting Kathak dance in a contemporary context. She creates work relevant to modern audiences, that is inspired by Indian and British culture, and the rich possibilities that arise when they meet. She was recently awarded the Maker Monday Commission, which will provide support for the creation of an interactive performance. J. Dooley and B. Di Donato are working closely with Sonia for the development of an interactive system, which allows a dancer to control sound, visual and light projections through hand-gestures.
The system developed by James and Balandino aims to extend Sonia’s artistic ideas and project them to the audience using auditory and visual elements. Sound, visual and light projection are controlled through gestures tracked using Myo armband, Myo Mapper, rIoT board and Pd. Gestural data are sent to Wekinator for the gesture recognition process which uses machine learning. As each gesture is detected, a message is sent to Pure Data where audio, visual and light projection are processed.
Understandings from a 2 days workshop conducted with Sonia at Parkside MediaHouse, showed a good flexibility of the system, which allowed the developer to assist Sonia at any step of the creative process. The first day focused on exploring interaction design using machine learning techniques to recognise footwork, leg movements and hand gestures. During the second day, the mapping of gestural data with sound generation and elaboration, visual and light projections was developed. In addition to proving the stability and usability of the developed system, this two day workshop generated a new creative workflow to be considered as a method for working on interactive dance performances.