Motion Bank

Research Project

Screenshot of virtual stage developed for score creation with Deborah Hay. Ros Warby in silhouette. Credit: Florian Jenett.

Motion Bank (Phase One) was a four-year interdisciplinary project of The Forsythe Company providing a broad context for research into choreographic practice. Motion Bank was established on the basis of successful precedents set by William Forsythe and his research collaborators, bringing together dance and computer-aided design, to facilitate understanding of choreographic practice. The Motion Bank project, based in Frankfurt (DE), was established to develop this research further, with the aim to demonstrate how this could function for a wider range of dance artists, taking into account their unique individual approaches, as well as leading to a set of general principles and tools. The main results are four online digital scores developed with the choreographers Deborah Hay (USA), Jonathan Burrows/ Matteo Fargion (UK), Bebe Miller (USA) and Thomas Hauert (BE/ CH). Each of these freely accessible scores has been iteratively designed and developed to fit the individual approach of the artist, and were collectively published using a new online software authoring system (MoSys).

In addition to these high-profile scores, Motion Bank produced a range of other results, including: the further development of annotation software for use by the dance field; organising six public workshops attended by over 450 participants; facilitating international workgroups on dance education and interdisciplinary research; print publishing including award-winning computer science papers; and a 130 page project book and initiating the ‘Choreographic Coding Labs’ series, designed to introduce high-level ‘choreographic thinking’ and dance-related datasets to creative coders, for the development of software and new artworks.

All of the Motion Bank Phase One research is documented in a catalogue of more than 30 discrete events to be found on the main website. For all of these achievements to occur, the Motion Bank team successfully administered and managed an international network of institutional partners and an internal research pool of more than seventy individual artists, researchers and support staff contributing to the project.

Deborah Hay test filming February 2011 in the Frankfurt Lab, The Forsythe Company Studios. Photo: Jessica Schäfer.

The Main Project Team:

Project Leader: Scott deLahunta

Production management/Administration: Marion Rossi

Project and production assistance: Julien Renard

Collaborative Workspace/Score Coordinator:  Florian Jenett

Piecemaker Artistic Direction: David Kern

Piecemaker Coordinator: Martin Streit

Workshop Coordinator: Célestine Hennermann

Research Associate: Alva Noë


Dance Engaging Science was an interdisciplinary research project running in parallel with Motion Bank from January 2010 – January 2014.


 Motion Bank Documentation and Scores:

Choreographic Coding Labs

Project by

Scott Delahunta