Strictly More Pi

I love dance.  And I love everything about North Leeds Dance Academy.  Nicola’s driving vision through enthusiasm and the warmth of support from the whole team.  That’s from Ashleigh, Poli, Steve and Mark.  And that sense of belonging and sharing achievements and successes throughout the year.

So why so many months spent on the wrong side of the dance studio door?

So you think you can dance?  Me, myself and Pi?

So you think you can dance? Me, myself and Pi?

First things first, and that’s to recognise the taxi and chaperoning duties that parenthood brings to a week’s already chaotic schedule.  That’s my OH and I scrambling around to this, that and that other, but predominantly dance classes and then listening to the progress in learning from the other side of the door as Ashleigh says….one more time:

“Cha Cha Cha, two, three”

“Forward, back, side, close, side”.

And then there’s the excuse of erratic working hours.   But more than anything it’s a personal recognition of strength, absolute weaknesses and preferred learning style. Actually when it comes to dance it’s been borderline fear, too.

Is this heading towards a rare light bulb moment, then?

Of course I recognise the steps above from Cha Cha.  I can count them in the music.  I can count them in my sleep. I spend the week daydreaming about dance and often with Ashleigh’s commentary in my head.  I can spot a great dancer’s ‘top line’ and look out for heel turns and toes.  I know when a straight arm is excellence and a weak arm is bad.  Really bad 🙂


Of course I can because I’ve spent close to two years soaking up the knowledge and watching others learn.  But I’ve done it at the same time as planning to support teachers with the new Computing curriculum and through my personal development focus of learning and pedagogy.

I’ve sat and listened and worked at the same time, so let’s be honest, I’ve been absolutely clueless about my own dance journey.  Younger members of the family have described it as embarrassing.

two one

four three

But with every cloud there’s that silver lining

For me that’s been the insight of how computational thinking and its cognitive and educational implications equate to problem solving for all and helps teachers understand these processes as algorithmic.  And the meta learning approach from Tim Ferriss, which made me stop in my tracks about deconstructing learning and concentrating on ‘material not method’.  Maybe I can do this after all?

Tim Ferriss - The Four Hour Chef

Tim Ferriss – The Four Hour Chef

Will I ever know what it feels like to dance like Ashleigh? 

Sounds like a real life problem to me, and the answer was staring at me from the bag on the floor.

Me, myself and Pi.  That’s the way!

asheligh pi

Use the tech and follow the algorithm……manageable chunks. Deconstruct the learning.

Ashleigh and Mark - Watch and learn!

Ashleigh and Mark – Watch and learn!

Lights, music, Pi-cams, sensors and sequins at the ready.  Want to know EXACTLY how it feels when you dance a Waltz or a Tango properly?

tango 1 tango 2

Through an augmented reality view to help sense the queasiness when you nail the movements as they should be?  And I really shouldn’t move my head for a Viennese Waltz?

How does that feel, then?  How fast should I be moving for the quick step?  Can that be measured?   What about the force through the turns of a Tango routine?

And to really dance you should recognise the moves and viewpoint of your partner.  So what better way than to introduce Glass into the mix for yet more perspective.  But not for a Tango.  That’d simply be nuts.

to use 1

For every project you need to ‘put a band together’ and for Strictly More Pi I am immensely grateful to Rob Martin for questioning my every motive, idea, hair brained scheme and rationale that I threw his way. And for bringing so many more ideas to the Strictly table.   For helping to share the excitement through Computing.  For encouraging me to get far too animated about collecting data to improve performance. And talking algorithms.  Repeatedly.

And most importantly?   To do it through dance 🙂


‘Team North Leeds Dance Academy’.  It just got bigger!

How did we do it?

Take a look at the step-by-step guide from Rob’s blog.   To launch, click on the image below – it’s not as scary as first looks…..

'How to guide'

‘How to guide’

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