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Revealing Roots: An Original Work of Poetry, Dance and Computers
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Wearing a motion-sensitive "dance suit" designed for the Danish Royal Ballet, a middle-school student from P.S. 193 in Queens, New York, moved her arms to alter both the images projected on the screen behind her and the computer-generated score. She was performing in Revealing Roots, an original work of poetry, dance and computer music technology.

P.S 193 Kids Dancing
The students attended a performance of Alvin Ailey's Revelations to prepare for their interpretive response.

The school is one of three to participate in "Dancing Across the Digital Divide," an annual multimedia show put on by fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders in Queens' Community School District 25. This year's event, held at Flushing Town Hall, was sponsored by the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts and produced in collaboration with New York City Center, Columbia University, and other cultural and educational organizations.

Divided into groups based on their talents and interests, the students set out to create an interpretive response to Revelations, the signature work by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. A ccording to the dance company, Revelations "holds the distinction of being the most performed contemporary dance piece throughout the world."

Dancers were paired with a modern dance instructor, while fourth- and fifth-graders worked with a poet to hone their prose skills. Terry Pender , assistant director of Columbia's Computer Music Center , marshaled sixth-graders to create the computer program that would generate sounds and images for the dance and poetry.

It seemed a daunting task at first, but Pender was impressed by the students' progress. "So many people have claimed that you can't teach kids this young to write sophisticated computer programs," he said. " Revealing Roots proves that we can."

Published: Jul 18, 2006
Last modified: Jul 19, 2006