I spent the last week - Monday 5th December to Friday 9th December, attending a full-time week long workshop, held in one of the dance studios in Dance Ireland, Foley Street, Dublin.  The workshop consisted of learning the technology  - Isadora [] to design and realize dance choreography for medie performances.  Troika Ranch Co-Founders, Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello guided participants through a series of compositional problems focused on how to successfully bring performers and visual and sonic media together to create compelling and truly unified works.see: TroikaTronix [] at Dance Ireland []

More information on the workshop:

From Screen to Performance Space

The reason I attended was to explore the use of audio visual works beyond the fixed screen and to explore the possibilities of using audiovisual /visual music works in performance settings and in particular in the area of dance performance.  I will be working on a collaborative project next year using visual music video, dancers, musicians and soloist singers.  However, as up to now, I have only created fixed media works, intended for installation and screening, therefore to work with a performance setting is a challenge.  When Emma Meehan sent around an email to ATRL students about this workshop, I thought I have to do this, even tho I was very apprehensive about the dance part. Emma was very supportive and very encouraging and I decided after that I would make enquiries, explaining my non dance status and if this was ok.  After a few days I got word back from the organizers that they were happy for me to do it so long as I would move and do movement, which I said I would.

Movement argh!!

Again, when it came close to the workshop I was going to pull out, as we got more information about it and there was quite a lot of movement and choreography involved.  I really was nervous.

I was right to be= the movement aspect for me was challenging, but it was the part I really did get a lot out of.  Mainly from observing how the other particpants used movment and how Dawn could at the drop of a hat and out of thin air,  choreograph the most amazing movements and just the whole composition and design part of movement.  However, it was exactly what I needed. My hunch was right for me, I felt I needed to understand dance a bit more from the 'doing' aspect of movement in order to be able to at some stage work with dance performers.  This workshop definitely has provided me with a better understanding of moevment and video that I would never have thought up or envisaged.

Movement Phrases

Despite my anxiety about movement, I really did find the whole area of movement quite wonderful. Watching the dancers create choregraphy movements (movement phrases as Dawn said), they were gifted in embodying movment and dance in every part of their body - face, expressions, fingers, arms, hair, nose, head - all.

My movements I felt were more about making marks and using mainly my arms to make patterns etc.  One of the tasks that Dawm and Mark set us was to create a Light Video that would then become the basis of designing and choreography a movement to this light video - this was where we had the opportunity to learn about the software and about dance and its possibilities for video.  Dawn and Mark had some very new ideas about dance and video, which they shared with us.

Embodied Movement

One thing I did notice was how much I was not embodied in a movement, the movement I made was outside me - nearly like the flailing arms of a bad conductor of an orchestra!!!  However, Dawn and Mark and all the dancers at the workshop were totally embodied their movement, this was something I learned.  Maybe for some this is so obvious but for me to attempt to make movement to video footage (the video acting as the design guide) I was not in it, but several of the dancers were 'in' the movements of their video choreography.  Really wonderful choreographies were created from what would at first appear very abstract footage by the other dancers, how amazed I was.

Highlights of the Workshop

Dawn, one of the presenters - an amazing dancer and dance choreographer, as everything she did, from improvisation to choreography was totally fluid, spot on and quite stunning. The developer of the interactive video for dance software (Isadora) was the other presenter, Mark, so it was quite amazing to be taught how to use a software by the developer himself. The imagination, flair, and talent of the other participants of the workshop = brilliant dancers, all based in dance ireland and so creative. Having the workshop in one of the dance studios in dance ireland - a beautiful space, with so much room and light and windows (tho mainly covered with blinds for parts of workshop) Making friends and contacts with other media artists and dancers Learning and getting to grips as a beginner with the software Isadora Doing the showing as its called, and presenting the work that was done by all in the workshop to an audience. Dawn choreographing the other dancers live and with total improvisation, my video environment.  How wonderful it was to see my audiovisual environment come to life for a few minutes with bodies, composition and movement.

Video Environment

The video environment I created, I have put 5 minutes of it on vimeo,  However, it runs for up to 3o minutes from Isadora.  We were taught to create a patch for the live presentation of the video and to create effecets and all the usual video things.With help of Dawn and Mark, I created a patch for it to be used in a live setting.

For this we were set the task of recording a short segment of video, bringing it into Isadora and then using Isadora to select a loop, and continue to tweak with the power of Isadora to create a short 30 second to 1 minute video environment from which we then choreograph a dance/movement response.  However, it took about 2 days to get the hang of Isadora to do this, but having the task of a performane/show really did focus one in learning Isadora and for me, this was where I learned loads, and am still digesting and processing all the areas that Mark and Dawn covered in this workshop.

For this video environment I took some recordings of piano keys from a piano that was in the studio, which I simply selected a segment and looped it, however, I copied the video a few times, selecting a different duration of the loop segment, which effectively meant that the video was never the same, as there was constant phasing taking place between the four layers, creating similar but different patterns.  I was totally stumped as to how to choregraph this for dance, and was SO DELIGHTED that Dawn choreographed an instantansous movment with the other dancers of the workshop, whom entered into the spirit of the environment and did movements according to Dawns instructions. This was just amazing that on the last day I got a glimpse of what I could possibly work on in the future.  A glimpse, but I was still stuck in my audiovisual world, this was one of the most wonderful things I have experienced with my own work.

Vimeo Excerpt of Piano Keys Phase

Piano Keys Phase from Sounding Visual on Vimeo.

Exploring a video environment with layered phasing loops of video footage of piano keys and processed and stretched audio loops. This video environment at a recent week long dance and video technology workshop using the software Isadora, presented by Mark and Dawn of TroikaTronix [] at Dance Ireland []

I intend to develop these phasing loops to create a video environment for a dance performance


(for archive purposes)


Date: 05 December 2011

Time:10:00 - 16:00


Admission:€50 members / €70 non-members

Teacher:Troika Ranch

The Live-I Workshop is an intensive laboratory for artists who wish to explore the creation of media intensive performances for the stage. As pioneers of the form with 20 years of experience behind them, Troika Ranch Co-Founders Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello will guide participants through a series of compositional problems focused on how to successfully bring performers and visual and sonic media together to create compelling and truly unified works.

Topics to be covered include:

* Effectively integrating live performers and video imagery on stage * Using live video/audio feeds to amplify or re-contextualise performer and themes * Applying notions of film grammar to on-stage imagery * Use of reactive/interactive systems as an intensifier of liveness * Considering alternative projection surfaces and/or materials

A further investigation will consist of constructing computational ‘scores’ from which to generate movement itself. Using editing, filters, loops and other algorithms, both composed and random, participants will create choreography for the live body by interpreting the computer-influenced output.

Throughout the workshop, students will be introduced to Isadora® -- the user-friendly, real-time media manipulation tool created by Mark Coniglio. All students will receive a complimentary three-month license to the software so that they may continue their experiments after the workshop's conclusion.

This workshop is open to those whose work focuses on live performances, whether they are choreographers, composers, theatre directors, or scenographers. Applicants should be comfortable working with computers and moving their own body in space.

We will encourage you to prepare for the workshop by exploring the online video tutorials for Isadora at

Please note that workshop places are limited and will be allocated based on the suitability. Participants are asked to bring their own equipment if possible (laptop, video camera, microphone, MIDI input devices or other sensory systems).


Troika Ranch Website