Thursday, March 22, 2018

URSP Student Cydney Dennis Creates a Code to Calculate the Inter- and Intra- Variability of Dance Pieces

I first began to find my interest in this project when working with my current mentor during OSCAR’s summer team project this past summer. The summer team project took my thought process outside the box by integrating dance and bioengineering. I was curious how dance professors actually taught their students. How does a professor know a student is better, what exactly are they seeing that’s different?

This project can be used as a basis for motor learning and rehabilitation for patients with neurodegenerative diseases or spinal injury cases. Knowing how motor skill levels can be quantitatively calculated, clinical experts can use these calculations to decide which path is best for the treatment of patients. With a spinal injury patient, a doctor can quantitatively asses the patient’s motor functions and adjust according to his/her treatment. This is something I’m very interested in because I would love to work with rehabilitation patients and those with bone tissue damage.

On a weekly basis I work to write a code that will analyze the variability of each dance movement for each dancer. My code was created to calculate the inter- and intra- variability of each dance piece. The beginning of the semester was spent collecting data with the dancers. Each week, when the dancers were available, we would take dancers into the studio and collect their motion capture data while they performed a dance piece at least ten times.

I was able to find that dancers who are categorized in the same skill level can show a high level of variability. Dancers that are categorized as seniors can be seen as having a generally high skill set, however between dancers, there is a high level of differences between skill sets. These levels can be calculated quantitatively.