Dance About with Curious Seed

Dance About App from Curious Seed 

Curious Seed have launched Dance Abouta fun, charming, choreography app based on their internationally acclaimed dance performance for children Chalk About.  Featuring dance artists Christine Devaney and Hendrik Lebon, and a specially commissioned soundscape from Kim Moore, the app’s cutting edge technology means children can draw and redesign the background while the dancers perform the chosen moves. This digital dance toy is designed primarily for children and young people, but also for anyone with an interest in dance. Curious Seed has partnered with digital developers Hippotrix to create the app.  Artistic Director, Christine Devaney tells us more…

Where did the idea for a Curious Seed app come from?

The creation of our production, Chalk About, came about because I was an associate artist with Imaginate, which brought me more specifically to creating work for and with young people. I always work across art forms in the creative research period of any work, and since one of the first creative tasks in connection with Chalk About was drawing these huge self-portraits, it seemed to make a lot of sense to bring the drawing and moving aspect to the app as soon as we started talking about it. 

How does the Dance About app work?

Dance About is a creative and fun digital toy. Your actions affect the dancers and the music, allowing you to play and interact with the two dancers. It enables you to play movement sequences, to chalk around the dancers and to capture what you create using the camera - perhaps a starting point for your own choreographic ideas later!  Fun dance moves lead you through the app in three phases: Journeys, Postures and Duet.

Most of it is seen from an overhead point of view, as if you're looking down on the dancers moving on a big chalk board, so there’s much fun to be had playing with the perspective.

Dance About App from Curious Seed

Curious Seed collaborated with Hippotrix to create the app, how did you find this process?

Jonathan Charles from Hippotrix created the beautiful projections for our shows found and PUSH, and we recently made our short film, Threads, with him. So, although the process of creating the app was very different for me it was an easy continuation of our creative relationship. As usual we collaborated with a composer, on this occasion Kim Moore. I think Kim and I found this process challenging at times! We were never actually in the studio working things out together, as might usually happen.

The process of working on the app has been pretty exciting and so different from creating a show.  We liked the complimentary way chalking and dancing came together for Chalk About, and wanted to see if we could create a similar sort of juxtaposition in an app. 

Hippotrix producer Simone Bloomfield says: “Developing the technology to allow a user to chalk behind the video was not without its challenges. Apps where you draw over imagery are common, but this was altogether different. But a lot of the pleasure in the app is when you add funny or artistic elements to the dance environment!"

Who’s the app for and what do you hope people will get out of using it?

This digital dance toy is designed primarily for children and young people, but I think anyone who likes to play and discover, even if you’re unfamiliar with digital toys (as I was before this!) would have some fun with Dance About. It’s not competitive, although you do have to work a few things out, so unlike many game-type apps it’s actually quite calming. Of course playing with the app isn't actually dancing, but we have seen some children get up and try some of the moves while playing with it!

What else is coming up for Curious Seed in 2016?

We’ve already had a busy start to the year, sharing Chalk About with new audiences in New Zealand and in Denmark.  We’ve just finished the first phases of development for an exciting new work, Teenage Trilogy which we presented as work in progress thanks to the support of Krokusfestival (Belgium), Tramway and Imaginate.  We recently presented our dance film Threads at the inaugural Perth Screendance Awards and we’re also very pleased to have just gone live with our newly revamped website, designed by Niall Walker: www.curious-seed.com

I’m thrilled to be back in the studio with Luke Sutherland and actor Rosalind Sydney developing early ideas for new work, Moving Monologues

This year we are also looking at how we develop Curious, the creative learning strand of our work, so there will be lots of opportunities for practitioners, participants and young people to get involved in our creative processes.

And, we are delighted to be invited to Macao in August to present Chalk About at the Macao Cultural Centre, along with a series of workshops for children and artists.

Download the Dance About app at http://appstore.com/danceabout.

Curious Seed receive Regular Funding from Creative Scotland.

This article was published on 27 Jun 2016