Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead

Art and science came together at this year’s All School Dance Concert, “Haiku”, which featured interactive animations created by Honors Computer Science Projects students.

Catherine D. ‘20 and Kyra K. ‘19, students in Dr. Darren Kessner’s Honors Computer Science Projects class, wrote a computer animation based on physics simulations for the show. The animation was projected behind Micah P.  ‘21 and Cordelia R. ‘21, choreographers and performers of the piece, “let me stay gentle.” Catherine and Kyra used virtual models of springs to create a string that ripples and breaks apart. 

“I had so much fun working on the project in class and testing out different ways to run the programs and implement the visuals,” said Catherine. “During the actual performance, it was really gratifying to see all of my time working on my project pay off in front of the audience. Overall, this project was a really rewarding experience that broadened my perceptions of the different ways you can use computer science in all kinds of fields.” 

For an additional piece called “Overwhelmed,” choreographed by Ms. Holly Rothschild, Catherine created an interactive particle system using a blend of math, physics, and computer science. The system was then projected on a screen behind the dancers. Catherine used a Microsoft Kinect sensor to get depth information from the dancers on stage, which allowed the dancers’ movements to interact with the particle system.

“Catherine’s work combined art and science in a very engaging, interactive art piece,” said Dr. Kessner, Mathematics and Computer Science INstructor and STEM+ Program Co-Head. “Her work stands on its own as visual art, but Catherine took it to the next level by adding the depth sensor, which allowed the dancers to interact with her program live during the performance.”

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