Inventors at Georgia Tech have developed a method to teach dancers choreography and discrete movements using tactile cues applied to the body. A wearable computing system consisting of computerized shoes and/or arm straps provides these tactile cues and enables training during dance practice or while users wear the system during daily life. Each stimulus provides a strong cue indicating a dance movement, so dancers may easily learn steps by “feeling” them. Then, by wearing the system during life outside of the dance studio, dancers can continue to feel the cues repeat on their body for passive training. Intensive repetition of the stimuli may create powerful associations in memory and reduce the time needed to learn new choreography. As with other movement-based forms of haptic training, the method may be ideally suited to dance formats that feature simple and explicit motor skills and movement cues (i.e., tap dance). This method also enables tele-teaching for remote instruction and learning at home.
- Passive: Enables students to practice dance choreography or steps while they go about daily life and focus on other tasks
- Time-saving: May help reduce the challenge in learning new dance steps and may reduce the amount of rehearsal time needed to learn new routines.
- Researched: Builds on studies showing successful application of haptic training to patient rehabilitation as well as learning typing, piano, and other tasks involving discrete motor skills
The method may be useful to many types of dance and fitness organizations, especially those that help novices learn basic steps/moves:
- Dance and fitness studios
- Tap dance studios (dancers and students)
- Ballet dance studios (dancers and students)
- Cheerleading organizations
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation organizations (senior and/or disabled populations)
Growing interest in dance as a hobby and alternative form of exercise is opening the door to new forms of helping students learn dance moves and choreography in order to become proficient in less time and with less intensive rehearsal. Latin-inspired, cardio, fusion, ballroom, barre, Bollywood, and pole dancing have all seen a surge in popularity and substantial increases in class enrollments. Haptic methods applied to other movement-based training of discrete motor skills has demonstrated success. Examples include rehabilitating patients with decreased limb function due to stroke or brain injury, typing training, and piano training. The same concept of applying tactile cues to body parts may also prove successful in helping students learn dance moves and routines more quickly, cost effectively, and with less confusion than traditional rehearsal alone.