FSU Mobile Lab Shines a Spotlight on Dance

Montgomery Hall -- FSU Dance
Posted at 5:30 PM, Apr 14, 2016
and last updated 2017-05-30 09:15:05-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- The Florida State Mobile Lab is hoping to encourage the arts in younger generations, thanks to some new software.

A lot of focus right now is on STEM education - that's science, technology, engineering and math - leaving the arts in the dark.

But a group at FSU is hoping to bring performers into the spotlight.

When you think about computers and technology, dance might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But the Mobile Lab at FSU is bringing some of the latest software right here to Montgomery Hall and into the studios.

"Tech is transforming how art is done, transforming how it's transmitted. So what we listen to, what we see and the way that we received this information," said assistant professor Margareta Ackerman.

That's where ViFlow comes in.

It uses infrared light to follow the choreographer, and lets them choose the effects they want in real time.

"What we wanted was the ability to have the choreographer just while they're thinking of what kind of affects, to create them on the stage... on the same stage that they're doing a dance so they get an immediate idea of the type of effect," Mobile Lab director Gary Tyson.

And you don't have to be a pro to use it.The Mobile Lab is making sure every aspiring dancer can use ViFlow to enhance their performances.

"The system that we're building is intentionally built in a way that will make it easy for a person - for anybody - but especially a dancer too easily incorporate into what they're doing," said Ackerman

Those involved say this project's impacts will extend long after curtain call.

It brings together the worlds of art and technology, plus reaches a younger audience in a unique way.

"There just used to dealing with technology in all aspects of their lives. So if you want to bring those people in and have them appreciate dance, you want to approach them in a way that they're used to and that involves technology," said Tyson.

ViFlow's creators say the software will be an open sourced, and officials expect it to be released sometime this summer.