Digital Dance

We’re looking to mix dance, music, theatre, performance, lighting/projection, science and digital art. See bottom of the page for the gesture based glove competition that the Essex Steamettes are taking part in.


A really fun beginner activity we often run involves simple coding of dance moves, light effects and stage lighting. See from 20 seconds:

Microbits can be easily programmed and attached to people. They have accelerometers which can sense motion and direction and send this over radio to another Microbit which can communicate with a PC/Mac over USB (serial).

Here are two Microbits sensing the electronic circuit made by touching copper tape connected to the Microbits at our Southend Tech Meetup.

Data is then sent over Midi to Garage Band on a Mac to produce the music.

See also :


We experimented with Microbits strapped to dancers’ wrists and ankles.
Microbits have a 5 by 5 red LED grid and long exposure creates light trails. Video shows positions moving in darkness. It needs a better camera with longer exposure to “draw a picture”.


We can investigate forces, acceleration, angular momentum, and other science by graphing the Microbit accelerometer reading and comparing to the video. We use gesture sensing to can trigger other lights, sounds or physical interactions including in other locations over the internet.

It may be possible to use the readings to give a real time feedback to the dancer on incorrect positions and movements.


Neopixels are controllable LEDs which can create 16 million different colours (255 levels of Red Green Blue) and are very bright. Colours can change depending on different algorithms eg. over time or movement.

Microbits and other controllers eg. Gemma can be sown into clothes using conductive thread, but it is prone to coming lose especially with movement.

See similar with Arduino + MPU6050 accelerometer :


Movement controlling musical attributes over midi. Filter sweeps, resonance, pitch, timing, rhythm, frequency or triggering samples.


Artificial Intelligence can use webcam video to do live body mapping and send positions of limbs.

Outputs could include lights, music, robotics, visualisations, projection mapping, virtual reality, augmented reality or vibration motors.

This is quite advanced Python coding, but we can now start to do basic versions including face mapping in Scratch with 10 year olds.

Essex Steamettes Microbit Glove Project

The Essex Steamettes are about to do a project on wearable tech using a gesture controlled Microbit glove.

Watch this video for an introduction :


Ariana Grande uses the original £1,500 gloves which have inspired the Microbit competition to make music.

Girls aged 10yrs+ are invited to join and you can find the video link here.
Sundays 2pm and Tuesdays 5pm.
(General activities continue on Thursdays 11am)

4 girls currently in yr 7-12 can take part in the competition and will need to make videos and keep diaries.
Girls in lower/higher years can take part in the 10 week learning course and we’ll be doing more advanced activities including mqtt messaging over the internet which the public may be able to take part in.

Scratch, Microbit and Makey Makey makes interacting with screen and physical objects easy and the glove course will cover some of it :

The Microbit can sense movement, finger to finger/palm touches, light levels, magnetism and communicate over radio (and then the internet), trigger lights, motors, robotics and more.

At a recent online Preston Raspberry Jam “Darth Vader” presented a “light saber” project. When the light saber moved, the lights glowed more brightly and the sound changed. A button changed colour (good vs evil) and played samples from the films. Still looking for video/link but can create similar with Microbit.

Join the next online Preston Raspberry Jam 7pm 1st June which is on wearable tech. Click here to book.

With flexible resistors, the position of each finger can also be used :


Here are two similar art projects :



Microbit Glove competition

In 2021, the Essex Steamettes will be entering the MiniMu glove competition again and running the course for other people.


See their Youtube playlist where they made lots of videos including Microbit and MiniMu glove :


If you would like to get involved, girls aged 11-19yrs old can join the weekly Essex Steamettes meetings now and other meetings are listed here.