December 12, 2016

Tutu Turned Techie

CityDance Conservatory Alumn Milka Trajkova is combining her love of ballet and technology to make a world of change in the dance (and technology) world!

Her interest in the intersection of ballet and technology began during her undergraduate studies at South East European University in Skopje, Macedonia where she received a degree in Information Systems and Management. While completing her degree, she conducted an evaluation of a Kinect-based system for ballet learning with students from the ballet school affiliated with the Macedonian Ballet. Her work was presented at the 2015 Human-Computer Interaction International Conference in Los Angeles, California. Last year Milka completed her Master’s degree at Indiana University with research that concluded that remote-ballet learning could be possible. Her intention with this research was to provide access to ballet education in places where it is not possible.

“I believe that one's location should not have to limit their ability to receive the best possible ballet education.” - Milka

Her work has been presented at the 2016 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing in Heidelberg, Germany.

Currently, Milka is a Human-Computer Interaction Ph.D. student at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing in Indianapolis, I.N., where her research explores the various feedback mechanisms ballet teachers use in a ballet technique class to design systems for remote learning.

She will be conducting a preliminary study assessing feedback in ballet technique classes with the hope to examine the relationships dancers have with teachers, other students, tools in the studio (mirror and barre), as well as any technology they use to aid their learning. 

“There is a reason the term, “mirror dancer” exists. We are all very focused on how we ‘look' in the mirror but ultimately discard the ‘feeling' in our bodies. Acquiring the ability to ‘feel’ my own body was a simple concept to understand, yet difficult to implement. This, later on, set the stage where I started to question the effect of mirrors on a dancer’s body image, technique, and psychological health.” - Milka

Are you a dancer at least 14 years of age who is interested in participating in the study to help develop next-generation remote learning systems for ballet? Please take this quick 5-minute survey about your perceptions on learning in ballet technique classes.