In the dance studio: An art and engineering exploration of human flocking

Naomi E. Leonard, George F. Young, Kelsey Hochgraf, Daniel T. Swain, Aaron Trippe, Willa Chen, Katherine Fitch, Susan Marshall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationControls and Art
Subtitle of host publicationInquiries at the Intersection of the Subjective and the Objective
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783319039046
ISBN (Print)9783319039039
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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


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