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DAPPer member explores Studio McGregor's AI choreography tool

The dancer's "skeleton" read by the AI tool

Credit: Google Arts & Culture and Studio Wayne McGregor

DAPPer member Kerryn Wise recently provided DMU staff and students with the opportunity to experience choreographer Wayne McGregor’s new AI choreography tool, developed in collaboration with Google Arts and Culture.

The software captures movement data through the webcam of a simple laptop, and generates options for the most likely choreographic sequence to follow, which is displayed on screen in real time. The choreography produced directly reflects the personal style of a particular dancer of McGregor’s company, after they input 100s of hours of movement content from his 25 years of work. Hence, McGregor refers to it as a ‘living archive’. A significant feature that must be considered is that the tool does not simply borrow from the existing archives, but produces original material, which is extremely exciting in moving forward AI.

The workshop not only gave students the experience in using the tool, but Kerryn also gave suggestions as to how to experiment with it, believing copying the phrases is the simplest thing we can do. Participants experimented thoroughly from still images, to contact work to memory games and more, expanding their movement vocabularies and extending creativity, not replacing it.

The AI tool available to the workshop participants was the first prototype, and the company are aware of existing drawbacks already, but it was fascinating to gain the perspectives of both dancers and non-dancers, who were able to collaborate during the workshop as a result of the ease the tool provided.

It has been Kerryn’s role to conduct research using the tool, surrounding over 50s participants, and higher education students, which she will feedback to Studio McGregor in December. This will have a large impact in deciding the future of McGregor’s tool, which could advance into providing learning programmes, health programmes and a host of other opportunities. Last month McGregor premiered a live performance on stage in LA with his more sophisticated version, which has the ability to record longer, and therefore more complex movement phrases. You can find out more about the tool here;

Once again, congratulations to Kerryn for delivering such an insightful and inspiring workshop. We wish you and the rest of the company all the best with the project moving forward.

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