Techno-logy Dance: Race, Gender and Pose-Detection Technology

Jan 22 2020
When: 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Where: Harman Academy
Event Type: Polymathic Pizza

Event Details

From the gaze of the eye to the slightest gesture of a fingertip, body movements convey who we are.  Today, a new generation of machine learning based systems makes it possible, the science claims, to detect human body language directly from images, which includes languages of identity, gender, age, and emotion. This emerging tech of the computational perspective of the body—a most basic human/machine interfacing—engenders important polymathic queries:  How does pose detection technology enhance the human experience?  Is there anything lost when we technologize movement? Can features such as racial vernaculars, cultural contexts, or human agency be translated through this technology?  Does the body always speak the truth?  For this opening session for the spring 2020 Polymathic Pizza series, join dance and movement scholars Margo Apostolos and d. Sabela Grimes in conversation as they explore the new science and timeless philosophy of human motion.  

Speaker Information


Margo Apostolos

Associate Professor of Dance

Margo Apostolos is currently the co-director and co-founder of the Cedars-Sinai/USC Glorya Kaufman Dance Medicine Center and Associate Professor of Dance at USC Kaufman. She earned her PhD from Stanford University, her MA in Dance at Northwestern University, and a BS from Southern Illinois University. She has served as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Psychology at Princeton University and has taught at Stanford University, Cal Poly-SLO, and Southern Illinois University.

Dr. Apostolos’ research includes work for NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Cal Tech as a research scientist in the area of space telerobotics. She is the recipient of the prestigious NASA/ASEE Faculty Fellowship. Dr. Apostolos has authored and presented numerous articles on her pioneering research in robot choreography, the development of dance medicine, and dance for sports. Her notable research in “Dance for Sports” has included presentations to the International Olympic Committee at the Sydney, Athens Olympic Games and at Cambridge University prior to the London Olympic Games. Numerous professional and Olympic athletes have trained with her and transferred their dance skills from the studio to the field.

d. Sabela grimes

Assistant Professor of Dance

d. Sabela grimes, a 2014 United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow, is a choreographer, writer, composer and educator whose interdisciplinary performance work and pedagogical approach reveal a vested interest in the physical and meta-physical efficacies of Afro-Diasporic cultural practices. Described by the Los Angeles Times as “the Los Angeles dance world’s best-kept secret” and as “one of a mere handful of artists who make up the vanguard of hip-hop fusion,” Grimes is considered one of the most imaginative and innovative artists in his field. His AfroFuturistic dance theater projects like World War WhatEver, 40 Acres & A Microchip, BulletProof Deli, and ELECTROGYNOUS, consider invisibilized histories and grapple with constructed notions of masculinity and manhood while conceiving a womynist consciousness. He created and continues to cultivate a movement system called Funkamentals that focuses on the methodical dance training and community building elements evident in Black vernacular and Street dance forms. Previously, Grimes co-authored and performed as a principal dancer in Rennie Harris Puremovement’s award-winning Rome & Jewels. He received a BA in English and MFA in dance and choreography from the University of California, Los Angeles.