Dancing with Mobile Devices: The LAIT Application System in Performance and Educational Settings

John Toenjes, Ken Beck, M. Anthony Reimer, Erica Mott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At most any performance today, you will be notified to turn off your cell phone. The smartphone has become such an integral tool in our daily lives that turning it off is tantamount to severing our connection to our community and challenging the way we view and negotiate the world. Many audience members, particularly young ones, will be looking at their phones until the very last minute, sneaking peeks at social media throughout the performance. I decided several years ago to address this phenomenon by investigating how these devices could be integrated into live performance rather than battling against them. As a dance educator, I wanted to study this because as mobile devices become more and more necessary adjuncts to our existence, young artists and audiences will be seeking ways to integrate them into their theatrical expression. Recent classes, movement works, and technology ventures have explored the problem of how to weave the capabilities of mobile devices, and the possibilities that they present for both performers and audience, into the fabric of a successful dance theater work. This article first describes the investigative process through a creative dance class and performance of a dance called Kama Begata Nihilum. We then describe a technological solution in the form of a new mobile application system called Laboratory for Audience Interactive Technologies (LAIT) and recount more performance and teaching experiences using LAIT. Finally, we pose questions about the theory and use of ubiquitous digital devices in the dance theater of the twenty-first century and how this might affect thinking about future directions for teaching a new generation of young dance artists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dance Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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