Controls and Art

pp 27-49


In the Dance Studio: An Art and Engineering Exploration of Human Flocking

  • Naomi E. LeonardAffiliated withPrinceton University Email author 
  • , George F. YoungAffiliated withPrinceton University
  • , Kelsey HochgrafAffiliated withPrinceton University
  • , Daniel T. SwainAffiliated withPrinceton University
  • , Aaron TrippeAffiliated withPrinceton University
  • , Willa ChenAffiliated withPrinceton University
  • , Katherine FitchAffiliated withPrinceton University
  • , Susan MarshallAffiliated withPrinceton University

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Flock Logic was developed as an art and engineering project to explore how the feedback laws used to model flocking translate when applied by dancers. The artistic goal was to create choreographic tools that leverage multiagent system dynamics with designed feedback and interaction. The engineering goal was to provide insights and design principles for multiagent systems, such as human crowds, animal groups, and robotic networks, by examining what individual dancers do and what emerges at the group level. We describe our methods to create dance and investigate collective motion. We analyze video of an experiment in which dancers moved according to simple rules of cohesion and repulsion with their neighbors. Using the prescribed interaction protocol and tracked trajectories, we estimate the time-varying graph that defines who is responding to whom. We compute status of nodes in the graph and show the emergence of leaders. We discuss results and further directions.


Collective motion Dance Choreography Feedback Social interaction Networks Leadership Human groups Animal groups