The goal of the present study is to gain better insight into how dancers establish, through dancing, a spatiotemporal reference frame in synchrony with musical cues. With the aim of achieving this, repetitive dance patterns of samba and Charleston were recorded using a three-dimensional motion capture system. Geometric patterns then were extracted from each joint of the dancer's body. The method uses a body-centered reference frame and decomposes the movement into nonorthogonal periodicities that match periods of the musical meter. Musical cues (such as meter and loudness) as well as action-based cues (such as velocity) can be projected onto the patterns, thus providing spatiotemporal reference frames, or 'basic gestures,' for action-perception couplings. Conceptually speaking, the spatiotemporal reference frames control minimum effort points in action-perception couplings. They reside as memory patterns in the mental and/or motor domains, ready to be dynamically transformed in dance movements. The present study raises a number of hypotheses related to spatial cognition that may serve as guiding principles for future dance/music studies.
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