Sylvia Rijmer
Third Case Study: May 2018 to October 2019More

Multimodal Communication & Cognition

Computer Vision & Motion Tracking

Case study: Rui Lopes Graça

Our second case study on choreographer Rui Lopes Graça was carried out between May 2016 and October 2017. Rui Lopes Graça is an established choreographer of National Ballet of Portugal (CNB) and he has a track-record in both classical and contemporary dance. For this second case study we wanted to work with a very contrastive author to Fiadeiro, in order to analyse a compositional process (his piece"15 Bailarinos e Tempo Incerto" with plastic artist João Penalva) where there were very explicit choreographic instructions to be followed by the dancers and much less space for improvisation, consequently generating a totally different interaction and decision-making processes.

The BlackBox team has again designed studies to investigate different aspects of this work and our research interests cover: the analysis of the choreographer's decision-making patterns, following a neuroscience paradigm; the study of the "marking" phenomenon used by the dancers to memorize dance sequences; the interaction between touch and vocalisations in the communication between choreographer and dancers; the motion tracking of dance sequences to be visualised and annotated in 3D and virtual reality environments; and the production of a 360º video platform to visualize the creative process of "15 Bailarinos e Tempo Incerto", using animated and interactive annotations as well.

Performance Studies & Information Visualisation

Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo 360º

Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo 360º

Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo 360º is a multiple viewport platform for computer, tablet and VR headsets. The platform introduces the viewer to selected compositional strategies and artistic ideas by the authors of the ballet, João Penalva and Rui Lopes Graça.

A Backstage view of ‘Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo’

A Backstage view of ‘Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo’

After several months of exchanges, artist João Penalva and choreographer Rui Lopes Graça began rehearsals for Quinze Bailarinos e Tempo Incerto. This video accompanies the collaborative process between Penalva, Graça and the CNB dancers and artistic staff during the rehearsal period from May to October 2016.


Rui Lopes Graça, a native of Torres Vedras, graduated in dance as a fellow of the Gulbenkian Ballet School and the Professional Training Center of Companhia Nacional de Bailado. In 1985, he joined the cast of this company and became a solo dancer in 1996. He danced much of the repertoire of the CNB in classical and contemporary ballets. In July 1999, he participated in the International Course for Choreographers and Composers of the University of Bretton Hall in England, directed by Robert Cohan, Nigel Osborne, Ivan Kramar and Gale Law. Since 1996, he has choreographed for the National Ballet of Portugal as choreographer guest and resident, Ballet Gulbenkian, Portuguese Contemporary Dance Company, Strasbourg Opera Ballet, Dancing with the Difference Group, National Singing and Dancing Company of Mozambique, Contemporary Dance Company of Angola, and Companhia Rui Lopes Graça, among others.More

Rui Lopes Graça

His work has been presented in the USA, Holland, Scotland, Spain, France, Norway, Mozambique, Angola, Italy, Cuba, Israel, Mexico and Turkey. He is currently coordinator of Special Projects of the National Ballet Company. In addition to his activity as a choreographer, he is regularly invited to teach at the School of Dance and at the University of Stavanger in Norway. He holds the Society of Authors Award in the Best Choreography category of 2012, with Pedra Preciosa for the National Ballet Company, in partnership with André Teodósio.