Dancing in Shan Shui

Discover Human Connections Through Dance

Jenny Jiang
MDE 2023
Haozhuo Yang
MAUD 2024
Guoli Zhang
MAUD 2023
1 Dancing Trajectories in Shanshui


Chinese landscape paintings attracts people for its simplicity and elegance. Using simple black ink, landscape paintings can reveal inspiring spaces through its rich layers.

We recreated Shan Shui in 3D using motion tracking. With Shan Shui background, two dancers moved alongside the beat of the music, with hand controller collecting body dynamics. By visualizing their trajectory and connecting their movements, we can discover hidden connections between dancers.


The effect of traditional Chinese landscape painting is achieved through three steps. First, we projected the recorded dot matrix on a uniform plane and joined them to form line segments. Secondly, we generated surfaces from these line segments by lofting them to mimic the undulating and cascading shape of mountains. Finally, we use the gradient function to attach colors to the surfaces to create the final landscape painting effect.

By recording trajectory and speed dancers' movements, we visualized their movements as ribbons. A special moment of connection in dancing is celebrated when dancers are moving at the same direction at the same time. We visualized these synchronous moments by connecting their positions and directions. Therefore we can use dancing as a means to discover human connections through nature.

Project video
2 The background was inspired by Chinese Shanshui painting
3 Ribbons represent two dancers' movement trajectories
4 Hidden connections between two dancers
5 Dance and Shan Shui variation by parameters and types