Augmented Reality Dance

a globally distributed synchronised choreography

7 Oct 2012

Whether you are in Australia, Asia, Europe or the Americas, anyone is invited. Standing where you are and moving your phone above your head from left to right, someone some where else in the world will do the exact same thing, at the exact same time. Dance in a synchronous way with whole the world. This is a distributed global flashmob. Let your smartphone guide you. Dance alone, together.


Augmented Reality Dance - A globally synchronised choreography Marjolein Vogels, Sander Veenhof

On October the 7th 2012, the whole world is invited to join a globally synchronised choreography. By following the instructions on a smartphone, a dance routine is performed. A dance to be experienced alone, together. As a distributed worldwide flashmob. Standing in Rio, moving your phone above your head from left to right, someone in New York will do the exact same thing, at that exact moment.

The project is the result of a cooperation between the Dutch artist Sander Veenhof and choreographer Marjolein Vogels. The global event will be launched at the Tempo festival in Brasil, with an introduction by Sander Veenhof. A projection will show the Dance.AR participants across the earth, either as dots on a Google map or through live video-streaming.


With the rapid growth of the use of mobile pocketsize digital technology, our environment of today consists of more than just physical tangible material. There’s a data-reality invisibly surrounding us with virtual games to be played, stories to be experienced, treasures to be searched for. Using “augmented reality viewers” people are uncovering virtual manifestations around them, appearing on the live camera view of their mobile phone.

While doing so, they make quirky movements, waving their smartphones in the air in search of virtual content. These moves resemble an improvisational choreography. It triggered Dutch new media artist Sander Veenhof to turn the phenomenon into a real choreography.

Created appropriately within the domain of AR (augmented reality) a virtual instruction cube floats around a participant. The cube can be viewed using the augmented reality app “Layar”. While keeping ones’ feet at the indicated position, the cube instructs a person to hold the phone with specific hands while following the moves of the cube. The moves are initiated in a synchronised way across the globe because the system is controlled from one central source.

The current choreography consists of 33 moves, designed specifically for persons holding a smartphone in either one or both hands. The series of movements of the cube, moving back and forth, from left to right, up and down, from closeby to far away, are chosen in such a way that the movements of the hand(s) and thereby the body becomes a structured dance.


Sander Veenhof studied “unstable media” at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. Being an adept of digital and virtual realities and fascinated by the intrinsic lack of impossibilities of these domains, Veenhof now pursues his fascination throughout the physical realm thanks to Augmented Reality which has turned the world into a programmable environment. With his creations for our geographically-connected data-reality, he explores the practical and conceptual opportunities for artistic expression within the new hybrid semi-digital space. He is joined in these efforts by the Augmented Reality artist collective Manifest.AR, which he co- founded after the full-scale uninvited AR exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York he organized with fellow members of the group.

Marjolein Vogels works as a performer with NB projects, Jack Gallagher en Jennifer Tee. Besides this, she creates her own choreographies which are presented at various theatre festivals, performed by the collective The Magic Life Club. She is the organiser and curater of the yearly WhyNot festival.


The launch of the Global Choreography will be presented at the Tempo Festival Brasil.

Tempo Festival