Digital Media and Virtual Performance, Graduate

Critical Annotation of Miller 2017


Miller, Kiri. “Dancing Difference/Gaming Gender.” In Playable Bodies: Dance Games and Intimate Media, 61-91. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017.

I wondered if “trained” dancers have the same problem with kinesthetic vision in video games as inexperienced players, or if their training encourages a different engagement with the avatars at play. Do dancers comment on the movement itself, the ways in which it feels (un)comfortable or uses(lacks) particular skill? Would they pick up on the scrolling flashcards or the game’s sensor apparatus more quickly, being used to the acting as sensors themselves in context of a stage or other dancers?

I’m also curious to know how kinesthetic vision works here as opposed to non-kinesthetic vision in other gaming experiences. In introductory levels of video games, the point is very much for new players to figure out the interface: how the controller affects the avatar, how the avatar can move within its virtual environment, the various ratings/scores/achievements being tracked by the game. So it doesn’t entirely surprise me that new and inexperienced players didn’t pick up on these things. Here, the biggest difference is the interface of the body, and so the (un)comfortability or confusion in brought into the physical world of the player. I would like to probe that idea more – what is it about the disruption (or blurring) between the virtual and the physical environments that kinesthetic vision does for Dance Central? Especially in these moments of discomfort with racial masquerade, is there something that the game is doing that doesn’t go on in clubs, parties, or other physical counterparts? What about the manufactured conversation between the player and their attempts to mimic the avatar encourages this discomfort or movement?

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