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Dancing with Robots 

Amy LaViers
May 15, 2019 - 9:00am to May 17, 2019 - 2:30pm
A woman dances on the floor with a small robot
Photo credit: Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang

This series of events with UW guest artist Amy LaViers is sponsored by: Human Centered Design and Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, and the Department of Dance.

List of Events:

May 15, 2019, 9:00am | Meany Studio 267
Creative Project Class with Department of Dance

May 15, 2019, 12:00pm | Kane 225
Dancing with Robots: Designing Expression in Natural and Artificial Systems 

Abstract: In the future, everything will move. As robots come out of the factory and into human-facing contexts, how will this movement change the way human-built environments feel? Will these changes make occupants feel like standing a busy street corner or sitting by a babbling brook? The Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab uses the theater, and live dance performance, as a place to begin to answer these questions about the effects of non-verbal motion on the human psyche. This talk will discuss activities in the performing arts and the design of robotic systems, particularly the motion of these systems. This work highlights how broadening the palette of available robotic motion may facilitate the design of spaces of the future. Critically, the talk will discuss the interrelationship between function and expression in movement, as explicated in the Laban/Bartenieff Movement System, which highlights the role of context in how humans make meaning from motion. As motivation, the talk will pull from applications including collaborative manufacturing robots, expressive bomb-defusal robots, office building energy monitors, and care-giving robots that help the elderly age-in-place. This talk is meant to provoke questions that will be further explored in a workshop on Thursday and presented in a more satisfying academic frame, offering some answers, in Friday’s Robotics Colloquium.

May 15, 2019, 2:30pm | Meany Studio 266
Composition Class with the Department of Dance

May 16, 2019, 10:00am | CSE2 GO4
EMAR Interdisciplinary Greeting Movement Workshop 

May 17, 2019, 1:00pm | Gates G04
Robotics Colloquium Talk


Amy LaViers is director of the Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  Her research has been recognized with
awards from DARPA and her choreography has been presented at the Merce Cunningham
Dance Studio and in the DANCE NOW Joe’s Pub Festival at The Public Theater in New York
City.  She completed a two-year Certification in Movement Analysis (CMA) in 2016 at the
Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies (LIMS).  She completed her Ph.D. in electrical
and computer engineering at Georgia Tech with a dissertation that included a live performance
exploring stylized motion.  Her research began in her undergraduate thesis at Princeton
University where she earned a certificate in dance and a degree in mechanical and aerospace

Performance Show Time(s): 
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 9:00am
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 12:00pm
Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 10:00am
Friday, May 17, 2019 - 1:00pm
Related Departments: