Constantina is co-leading with Dr. Sadye Paez (Rockefeller University) a project on the Neurobiology of Dance, which was developed through their partnership with the New York University’s Center for Ballet and the Arts. In this project, they investigate several hypotheses that have been posed on the evolution of dance, with a special interest in the evolutionary overlap of the species that can both speak/sing and dance (i.e., spontaneously entrain to rhythm), such as humans and parrots (see a cockatoo (Snowball) dance here!). This project will also include examining in humans the brain regions that are activated during dancing and dance-learning. Constantina believes that these experiments will have a range of clinical and research applications and create a better shared understanding of whether and how the neural substrates of vocal learning and dance intersect. Read the press release here!
She recently co-mentored with Dr. Sadye Paez a group of students from the Interactive Telecommunications Masters’ Program at New York University (Jinny Kang, Qiongting Zhang, I-Jon Hsieh, and Stephanie Chen) on a project that led to the creation of an interactive 2-player rhythm game, called Zooba Battle.
Zooba Battle is based on studies and hypotheses on the link between vocal learning and rhythm entrainment (dance) in various species. The participants are prompted to select a species (e.g., parrot, chimpanzee, lizard, elephant) and push on buttons based on how the species they selected would tap onto the rhythm of the song that they listen to while playing. In other words, the (human) players need to imitate (by pushing buttons) the timing of the rhythm synchronization that other species would achieve, not themselves. This project included a variety of technologies ranging from sensors and laser cutting to music script and coding.
You can play the online version of the game by clicking the button below!