Past Forward: New Digital Engagement for Dance

Activity: Other activity typesFunding - grants and income which support research related activities


Contemporary dance is unique among artforms in that the creative process is one in which artworks emerge from a lived experience between choreographer and dancers – historically, in all but the rarest of cases, there have been no written scripts or notated scores to facilitate the later recreation of the work. This contrasts with other visual and performing arts in which galleries, curated archives, sound recordings, film and the written word all serve to ensure the longevity and preservation of artworks for future audiences.

Many of the records of Scottish Dance Theatre’s past works, particularly from the pre-2000s, now exist only on obsolete media such as VHS and Betamax tape and in the personal collections and memories of former dancers. These past works are significant to the cultural history of Dundee from the late 20th century onwards and are in danger of being lost.

The challenge that Scottish Dance Theatre and the 3DVisLab have identified for this project is to develop innovative ways to unlock this rich regional cultural heritage for current and future audiences to engage with. The project’s aim is to develop a methodology for the recovery and digital reconstruction of historic dance works and, using advanced 3D visualisation approaches, provide the means with which to present these works again in accessible digital formats.

This project has been awarded a University of Dundee RIS Collaborate for Impact Award for a pilot research study that aims to develop a method for the capture and reconstruction of past works. During 2023 this activity has included a series of knowledge exchange workshops involving Scottish Dance Theatre, Abertay University and the 3D VisLab at the University of Dundee.

Images and video courtesy of Scottish Dance Theatre.
Period1 Sept 202330 Jun 2024
Held atDundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionRegional


  • Contemporary Dance
  • Past Work
  • Digital Engagement
  • 3D Visualisation
  • 3D Reconstruction
  • Motion Capture
  • Game Engine Technology
  • High Quality Rendering