Yue-Ling Wong, Ph.D
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Research :: Stereoscopic Viewing and Interactive Multimedia in Live Performance

The 2003 Production, Fibonacci + Phi

About the Dance Production

Fibonacci + Phi Dance Production was a production of Alban Elved Dance Company in collaboration with me and other Wake Forest faculty, students and staff members. The production was performed in MainStage, Wake Forest University, on December 4-7, 2003. The theme of the dance was about a one-day experience of a woman, called Amanda. It incorporated computer technology, poems, and scientific concepts of Fibonacci and Phi in the dance performance. There are total 13 numbers in the performance. The three numbers that incorporated my work are described in the Activities Pursued section below.


There were two publications in Winston-Salem Journal about the Fibonacci and Phi dance production—one published in Relish was an interview before the show and one was a review after the first day of the show. Photocopies of these two articles are enclosed at the end of this report. Here are excerpts from a review by Susan Gilmor, Journal Arts Reporter of Winston-Salem Journal, December 5, 2003.

"She (Ms. Lüttringhaus) and her collaborators have much to be proud of. 'Fibonacci & Phi' not only provides an intriguing and challenging evening of dance, but also leaves the audience with plenty of ideas and images to reflect on in the weeks to come..."
" It is a remarkably innovative piece, both profound and visually dazzling... The beauty of the dance is only part of what's going on here."

"In one of the most striking sequences, dancers perform in a virtual 3-D snowfall, brought to life through the 3-D glasses that are passed out before the show."

"The music ... evokes the mood and meaning of the piece... Math never sounded so good... It would be easy for lesser performers to get lost in the dazzle of the onstage technology. But with the grace, strength and athleticism of these dancers...that's not an issue."

Activities Pursued

Number 7: Amanda's Dream, Snow with 3D Glasses

I created a 3-D stereoscopic snowfall animation, using Alias Maya and Adobe Premiere. Incorporated in the 3-D animation were snowflake photomicrographs taken about 100 years ago. Her intent was to "resurrect" these snowflakes that once lay motionless under a microscope by realizing an animation of their imaginary journey. The audience could imagine and appreciate the transient existence of these "masterpieces of design" as they watched the animated snowflakes falling on the dancers. The snowfall animation was produced as an anaglyphic (red/blue) 3-D animation to create the illusion of virtual snowflakes -- which signify the past -- interweaving with the dancers -- the present.

Figure 1. A frame from a video clip of the Fibonacci + Phi Dance Production Number 7: Amanda's Dream, Snow with 3D Glasses, showing four dancers dancing in an anaglyphic (red/blue) 3-D snowfall scene.

Number 8: Amanda's Nightmare, Manipulation Dance

Artists use mannequins posed in various ways to render accurate copies of human gestures and motion. The paradoxes that I wanted to express in this piece were: What if the roles were reversed? What if a human tried to dance with a mannequin, and the mannequin led the dance? Who, then, is the master of whom? In Manipulation Dance, two computer 3-D models of mannequins, created in 3ds max and computer programmed in Macromedia Director, led a dance with human partners.

Although the mannequins’ movements were based on motion capture data, their movements became original and unexpected during the performance by means of an original twist in this design. Taking a signal from dancers by means of a wireless joystick and a computer keyboard, the upper and lower bodies of each mannequin were able to move independently. Each of the upper and lower bodies could dance forward or backward in its own timeline and at its own speed.

To enable an interaction between human and computer, live dancers on stage tried to keep up with the mannequins. The Manipulation Dance explored the nonlinear re-creation of dance phrases by deconstructing and recombining pre-choreographed movements in real-time into new forms of expression.

INTERACTIVE DEMO: Click here to manipulate the mannequins yourself.

Figure 2. The image is a frame from a video clip of the Fibonacci + Phi Dance Production Amanda's Nightmare, Manipulation Dance. It shows two dancers mimicking the movement of two mannequins projected on a scrim. Two other dancers sitting at a table were controlling the movement of the mannequins with a computer keyboard and a joystick.

Number 9: Picnic in the Park under the Fractal Tree
This tree, created in Macromedia Flash, was an interactive piece called Fractal Tree of Verses. It expressed the reflection that if we pass up the chance to appreciate beauty, all we will see is the gibberish on the ground. In this piece, words become part of the trees' foliage. Each fractal tree is computer-generated in real-time—each tree generated is unique; the chance you see the exact same tree again is extremely low.

Each twig grows a word, a phrase, or a leaf. When the shedding of the foliage was triggered, words started falling and flying off the twigs. While the audience's eyes jumped from word to word or followed their paths, the words might recombine into sparks of verses in their mind. Each audience member might construct a different poem by following different words in a different order. Then, after this transient moment of chaos, the words would fly off the screen or drop on the ground and be jumbled together in an unintelligible heap. The audience at the show provided some of the words to grow on the fractal tree – some are audience's hand-written words captured with a tablet PC.

The Fractal Tree of Verses was revised for the 2004 Wake Forest Art Faculty and Staff Exhibition to allow the viewers to contribute words to the fractal tree's foliage.

INTERACTIVE DEMO: Click here to see the revised version.

Figure 3. The image is a frame from a video clip of the Fibonacci + Phi Dance Production Number 10: Picnic in the Park under the Fractal Tree. It shows the dancers dancing in front of a graphical fractal tree with words.