More discussions on Math & Dance

John Golden & I had another interesting discussion about math & dance this morning on twitter, this time inspired the article Dancing Mathematics And The Mathematics Of Dance, by sarah-marie belcastro and Karl Schaffer. Here is the conversation, in three parts:


  1. The text of the article can be found here here ( ) but you may want to look at the formally published article which includes many interesting visuals.

    First line of conversation:
  2. John is speaking to Conway's "hop-step-jump" terminology to "describe the seven linear patterns for ambulation."
  3. Here's another difference: My work as a teaching artist has always been to make the artistic process visible to my students. I am not just teaching them *how* to dance, but how to become dance makers within the system of percussive dance. The article provides a broad and interesting overview of many kinds of math that has inspired choreography, but it is only meaningful if you already know what math making and/or dance making feel like.  And you can't fully know this until you've actually learned/worked within one discipline or the other (or both!).
  4. No and Yes. Just to clarify, the problem solving in Math in Your Feet happens within a choreographic context, so they are constructing dance steps using a dance language. It's hard to see from the outside, but children are thinking and acting mathematically DURING the making process and ALSO applying math ideas to extend/deepen the choreography.
  5. John got my point:
  6. Physically based problem solving is FANTASTIC. But it is not dance. Just because you use your body does not mean you are dancing. John & I had a separate conversation about this that you can find here: 

    I am also working at a disadvantage -- so far it seems that there are no conversations happening online about this kind of work. I am working with a black box of sorts as I try to glean from the small amount of dance/math papers out there what and how exactly math/dance is being taught by others.

    Second line of conversation:
  7. Third line of conversation: