Computational Research Center

News and updates from the CRC

Native Dancer: General Update

Author: Ariann Rousu – Native Dancer Digital Artist

The past few weeks have been busy for me while I have been working on several tasks involving Native Dancer. A few weeks ago, I took some time to prepare and present the work done so far at TNRG’s Data matters Conference in Belcourt ND which resides on the Turtle Mountain reservation. I am very grateful for the opportunity to share this work with some of the Turtle Mountain community as three of our advisory board members are from the Turtle Mountains. Although we have made progress over the past several months, this project is still in the beginning stages, and it was very refreshing to hear comments and see others excited about Native Dancer. 

TNRG- Conference Poster

Aside from my own speaking experience at the conference, I was able to listen to others who work in Native environments speak on various topics involving data. It was exciting to see all the ways the Turtle Mountain people use data to support their people and environment. It really made me think about how we are going to be able to apply data more to our game in the future with the use of the motion capture data. Not only are we creating a fun game and metaverse experience that celebrates culture, but in a sense, we are going to be preserving these dances in a new way that may have never been done before.  

At the end of the first day of the conference, there was a fun curated event less related to data but very much related to culture and modern design. A fashion show presented by Dr. Jessica Metcalfe, Ph D, Owner of Beyond Buckskin and Dr. Angela Azure LaRocque, Ph D, Artist and Owner of Binieshi Ikwewag. The fashion show exhibited native inspired streetwear designs with modern twists, along with a few “avant-garde” pieces. This was great for me to experience and see firsthand what is being presented as far as Native Fashion in modern settings. I also admired how the Turtle Mountain community presented this as an opportunity for their youth to engage in the event. The models present on the runway were all members of the turtle mountain community and students from the local high school.  

Beyond Buckskin Ft, Bineshi Ikwewag Fashion Show – Photo Taken at the Event

Interacting with others at this event was an amazing experience for myself. It was very enlightening seeing all the various projects the Turtle Mountain leaders are investing in to continue to develop a prospering environment for their people and families. I felt very welcome and comfortable sharing the work I have done so far with Native Dancer with them and can’t wait to return with more to share.  

Beyond speaking at the Data matter Conference event, I have been engaged with learning more new software to work with while creating more assets for our characters. My next task is to equip our dancers in regalia with accessories such as headwear and objects that are held when dancing. I will be using marvelous designer to accomplish some of this, however, will also be working in maya to sculpt some of these props. To learn maya, I am working similarly to how I learned Character Creator and Marvelous designer: through online tutorials and research. Aside from the online resources, I am also reading the Autodesk Maya 2023 Basic Guide hard copy book.  

Native Dancer- Male Regalia Motion Test