The Multidisciplinary Workshop by Sergio Ulhõa

The Multidisciplinary Workshop explores physical, emotional and technological boundaries, toward the meaning that exists at the blurred edges between Performing arts disciplines. It comes from the necessity of synthesizing or “bridging” ideas from different artistic disciplines and leveraging broader input in generating and developing real time interactive multidisciplinary performances.

The workshop develops artistic possibilities through collaboration and confrontation between Dance, performance, Video, camera work and Music. These practices will share, overlap and converge with experimental and improvised performance work in their levels of abstraction and their lack of conventional narrative. It will serve as a vehicle to create a dynamic three-dimensional synesthetic experience.

Exchanging experiences and obtaining knowledge with practitioners from distinct disciplines, students will be able to understand and practice interactive Dance-Audio-Visual performance. They will be exploring the complex dynamics that take place between individuals, and the larger systems in which they are embedded.

Delivery Methods

Individual methods will be selected as components for each specifically discipline. Before uniting the disciplines, each individual participant (dancers, video makers, Vjs, musicians, and cameramen), will be guided to explore technical and sensorial possibilities around their discipline.


Target audience and Duration

The duration of the workshop is four days, three hours a day.

The technical facilities and equipment needed are: a large studio, one video beamer; one video monitor; four spot lights, two DVD players; two speakers; one microphone; two video cameras with RCA 20 meters long cables; two tripods. And a video mixer (provide by Sergio Ulhõa.)

The target audience consists of dancers, performers, video-makers, VJs, cameramen, and musicians.

Dance performance and Camera work:

Within this section the workshop focus on a dialogue between the body and the camera, and how movement can be transformed, amplified and distorted, acquiring another dimension and meaning with the use of camera movement and computer-editing technology. Participants are individually assisted while exploring the technical, practical and artistic challenges involved in creating a dance movement for the camera.

Approaches to body movement and camera work technique:

1- a mosaic of choreographic pattern will be developed by the dancers, following specific guide lines, they will improvise on the output coming from words such as: euphoria, happiness, melancholy, guilt, love, aggression, anxiousness, freedom and so on. Also on elements such as: direction, rhythm, space and time, and sometime the combination of both guidelines. The improvisation will be filmed and edited. Later in the process, the participant will perform again, his/her image will be live remixed with his/her footage pre-recorded during the improvisation.

2- ways of finding narrative structures using abstract elements;

3- picture composition, creative camera angles and placement.

4- visual weight: analyzing position and size of subjects in the frame.

5- visual activation: fast elements crossing the frame creating suspense and rhythm.

6- tension and harmony fields, considering body movements outside the frame.

The movement of the body outside the frame creates tension and active viewing, it frustrates the audience view of the ‘whole, while at the same time creating dynamic and tension within the shot and forcing the viewers imagination to come into play.

How the camera moves or is positioned in relation to the performers is an important aspect of the workshop. The camera movement creates an energy that involves the viewer, allowing them to become an active participant in the action. The “choreographed” camera, moving through space in relationship to the performer, alters our perception of the dance, rendering it three-dimensional and creating a fluid, dramatic and lively viewing experience. The camera movement emphasizes important elements of the dance: the feeling of spontaneity, the perspective of the body related to the space, the facial expression of the performer and the energy of the moment.

Dance For The Camera

Choreographers and dancers will be working with improvisation, both as a means of generating material in which will then be choreographed as performance material in its own right.

The idea of improvisation is that those working, in this case the dancers and camera operator, decide how they should move, or how they should film. They base this decision on their experience of what they see and feel in the moment, informed to a greater or lesser extent by certain ideas, rules, restrictions or scores.

Image mixing Discipline (Video Maker, VJ, Choreographer)


The significance of a movement is explored as time is slowed down, stretched, speeded up, repeated or stopped by the editing. The narratives that emerge tend to be subtle and intriguing, suggested rather than explained, impressionistic rather than literal.

We will follow two different approaches to editing. Firstly, there is editing for the continuity and smoothness of the choreography, where the timing and structure of movements are organically organized. Secondly, there is the editing approach, in which shoots are taken from different spatial and temporal contexts and are re-ordered, breaking down completely the dance sequence, creating a spatial logic and rhythm unique to the choreography that will be later incorporated to the live Video-mix work.

We will explore the effects on the sensorial perception of the viewer. For example by creating short loops of expressive movements and blending them with highly textural abstract fast images. The use of repetition and looping in editing deconstruct the action, it creates a minimalist structure, a logic and rhythms unique to the combination of Video-Dance.

The workshop applies methods using multiple live cameras inputs at a time, and how to capture, edit, compose and compress video to optimize it for live presentation. Using various video techniques participants will learn the crafts of image mixing. They will create motion graphics, manipulate video sources, design backgrounds and foregrounds to be blended into multiple layers in order to create a flowing motion composition.



- Capturing footage.

- Visual weight.

- Key frame animation and animation curve editing.

- Colorizing images applying color correction technique.

- Realistic footage combined with abstract graphics.

- Colored versus black and white graphics.

- Image flowing: interacting with the music melody or detecting beats.

- Blend modes.

- Timing variation.

- Chromakey.

- Live cameras input.

Audio discipline (live Music)

Within this discipline, Musicians (and or DJs) will improvise following diverse guidelines. They will be asked to translate into music, human emotions such as: euphoria, happiness, melancholy, guilty, love, aggression, jealousy, anxiousness and freedom.

They will be guided in exploring these guidelines through visualizing some short video sequences. These pre-selected sequences show:

-       Color fields

-       Black and white shapes in movement

-       Colored shapes in movement with accentuated timing variation

-       Colored Letters (bright and fainted)

-       Numbers in different sizes and colors (still and moving).

With this exercise students will develop skills in exploring compositional strategies that reveal the power of linking movement and sound and using the eye and ear in synchrony. They will create melodies and rhythms that connect to the sensation that each color, number or shape awaken. For example: The color blue can be a long silence, the yellow can sound like running water, the red can be connected to a cacophony, the purple to a soft melody and so on.


After working individually with each discipline, finally comes the final step: the union of all disciplines, the collaborative and holistic work takes place.

At the heart of this process participants will apply their acquired skills. Particular interests are cognitive processes related to creativity and to

reasoning about time, space, movement, detail, sensorial awareness, connectivity and balance between the disciplines. Participants will perform together. They will react on each other actions. The dialogue is now established. There is no main character in this learning stage. Every single participant is the leader. The Music has to follow the Dancer steps, the Dancer will get propelled by the images, the musician has to listen to the camera man, the Video maker superimpose textures and shapes coming from the sound, the Musician plays the colours of the projected image interconnecting the elements of the performance creating a synesthetic experience.


- Edirol V-4 video-mixer

- Video cameras

- DVDs players

- Mac Computers



The VDMX Video software application will be used throughout the class, this software is a media processing environment used for real time performance.

Final Cut Pro (editing)

After Effects (compositing)

Motion (compositing)

Photoshop (compositing)


However, participants can use their preferable software.


All rights reserved ã Sergio Ulhõa