Interactive Tango Milonga: Designing DMIs for the Social Dance Context

Brown, Courtney

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Musical participation has brought individuals together in on-going communities throughout human history, aiding in the kinds of social integration essential for wellbeing. The design of Digital Musical Instruments (DMIs), however, has generally been driven by idiosyncratic artistic concerns, Western art music and dance traditions of expert performance, and short-lived interactive art installations engaging a broader public of musical novices. These DMIs rarely engage with the problems of on-going use in musical communities with existing performance idioms, repertoire, and social codes with participants representing the full learning curve of musical skill, such as social dance. Our project, Interactive Tango Milonga, an interactive Argentine tango dance system for social dance addresses these challenges in order to innovate connection, the feeling of intense relation between dance partners, music, and the larger tango community.