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The TKB project is planned to run from 2009/2010 to 2012/2013 and seeks to provide a research space for rigorous, critical exploration of the relationship between cognitive linguistics, performance studies, new digital media and thought/consciousness.


Its main targets are: to extend the scope and application of the “documentation” concept to contemporary dance in different ways; to develop a strong link between the recent dance-research community and the well-established communities in cognitive linguistics (since Lakoff & Johnson 1980) and computer science, by taking a closer look at the cognitive process of “choreographic thinking” (Stevens & McKechnie 2005) and therefore contribute to the domains of multimodal corpora (Kipp 2008), terminological ontologies, cognition and verbal-nonverbal relations.


TKB implies the articulation of 3 complementary components, each of them involving specific aims and tasks, as specified below.




1. Linguistic analysis:
- Video annotation (using ELAN) of multiple dance rehearsal videos;
- Creation of glossary to define the specific terms used;


The aim of this component was to linguistically annotate original videos from dance performances shot on site during their creation and rehearsal phases, in a first stage those corresponding to the piece SetUp by Rui Horta, being contrasted with two other pieces by the same creator: Lágrimas de Saladino and Local Geographic. These will be taken as a first case study, other choreographers being planned for analysis as well, both for contrasting and evaluation purposes.


A terminological glossary of choreographic elements used by Rui Horta and his dancers is intended to be a rather flexible tool, in the sense that its underlying structure will be adapted to accommodate other choreographer-related terms as well, as is the intention of our partner Bertha Bermudez while working in a similar project with the dance company Emio Greco | PC (


The linguistic annotation component has been developed both at CLUNL and CLUP with the collaboration of the Amsterdam School of Arts (AHK), under the supervision of Carla Fernandes.


2. Software development for annotation and motion analysis:
- Multimodal video annotator (Creation-Tool:
- Information & Knowledge Management
- Motion tracking research


The Creation-Tool has been designed to support the choreographers’ creation processes and individual archives. The novelty here was to design a creation-oriented tool deriving from the results of the annotated video corpora with the aim of feeding back to the choreographic creative process. It should be an auxiliary tool for the creator’s task in real time compositions and for their archiving intentions (Jürgens 2008).


The CT interface has been designed by new media designer Urândia Aragão, with the collaboration of choreographers Stephan Jurgens and Rui Horta


The computational programming has been developed by João Gaspar and Diogo Cabral.


This component includes the creation of a custom-made video annotator, an information & knowledge management system as the interface to connect its three different modules and a motion tracking research module: towards a multi-person semi-automatic system to analyze the human body motion in video dance sequences (Guo 2006). This corresponds to two different applications: one for annotation and another one, web-based, for content access and browsing.


This software development component was developed at FCT/UNL, Interactive Multimedia Group, under the supervision of Nuno Correia.


3.  Prototype of Knowledge-Base (web-based archive) for the performimg arts

- Design of the Knowledge-Base interface


Starting with a prototype for a digital archive of Portuguese contemporary dance creations, which should be seen as a work-in-progress, our aim is to gradually compile in an interactive Transmedia Knowledge-Base the newest creations of international choreographers showing interest in this initiative, as well as, in the longer run, to cover the existing resources documenting the performing arts productions.



The project counts on the assistance of a contemporary dance-expert consultant (Maria José Fazenda at Escola Superior de Dança de Lisboa: and a facilitator consultant for the project’s knowledge circulation (Scott DeLahunta at Forsythe Foundation – Motion Bank:


TKB will mainly be relevant for the international contemporary dance and performing arts community, higher education dance schools, contemporary art museums and for the scientific communities of cognitive linguistics, multimodal corpora and new media technologies.