UCL Engineering


The UCL Dance Network: where innovation flourishes at the intersection of the arts and science

UCL is working with the English National Ballet and other creative organisations to explore what happens when the arts and science come together.

A male dancer wearing green shorts standing on one leg in front of a red background.

5 November 2021

The arts and creative industries are the fastest growing part of the UK economy. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, deep collaboration between the arts and the UK’s well-established scientific sector are relatively rare. 

Building on UCL’s strong academic connections with the creative industries, the UCL Dance Network was set up to foster greater collaboration and innovation. It brings together partners including the English National Ballet, Sadler’s Wells, Studio Wayne McGregor and The Place, working alongside various departments from across UCL. 

The Network is already inspiring new projects, such as novel, collaborative approaches to choreography, and an exploration of the potential benefits of dance for people with Parkinson’s disease.  

Experts from the UCL Institute of Communications and Connected Systems, and UCL Electrical and Electronic Engineering, have also come up with a novel new way to monitor dancers’ performance and rehabilitation.  

Impact Fellow Dr Robert Thompson and Professor of Photonics Sally Day realised that adding health monitoring sensors to dancers might hinder their creative expression and movement. So they developed a way to add sensors to their environment instead.  

A UCL student project is now taking the idea forward, by creating specialist dance flooring supported by accelerometers and gyroscopes. These can monitor dancers’ health over the course of each performance, as well as over entire seasons.  

If you’re interested in working with the UCL Dance Network, either as a UCL academic or external organisation, please contact Jo Townshend, Senior Partnerships Manager (Creative Industries, Art, Humanities & Societal Sectors)
Read the full story on the UCL Innovation & Enterprise website.



  • Credit: Ravi Deepres.

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