Electronic Tea Dance was a live work produced collaboratively from dancing with strangers for the entire duration of a 3 hour tea dance, in Yiewsley Middlesex.  A bespoke electronic device enabled the dancing position to be tracked at all times in the dance hall using unique ‘dance plot‘ software.  The device was connected to a computer and display screen, calibrated to the scale of the dance floor and the continuous trace produced a live drawing.  The traces eventually covered the screen and the beginning traces were obliterated into a mass of lines.  The work directly explored issues of chance and control: the fact of the artist being controlled by male partners in order to produce the work, although indirectly being the controller of the process of making.  In this work the computer and dancing partners were the image-makers, and I became a mechanical drawing agent.  

This work was shortlisted for the RED MANSIONS postgraduate fine art prize in 2003.

The second image is from an edited video of the tea-dance when the electronic positional data of the dance trace on the floor was being captured.  This work was originally shown in London as a back to back projected twin screen installation, so viewers could rotate around the screens seeing the computer dance trace simultaneously at the same moment of its making.

In 2016 I installed the data-trace singularly as a floor projection with sound.

Demonstration video of floor projection


Quickstep, Waltz, Tango is a triptych of three computer screen images produced as digital photographs:

Three recorded dance traces were separated from a live three hour tea dance and shown at the exhibition “Movement in Monochrome”, Eden Gallery, Harrow, Middlesex.

© Images and text Jan Frith

Quickstep, Waltz, Tango

Lightboxes of separate individual dance traces 2016.