Phases of Dance: An Animated Short

By Sarah Lochhead
Phases of Dance: Lo Dice La Gente bachata Animated Short (2017) by Iveta KarpathyovaPhases of Dance: Lo Dice La Gente bachata Animated Short (2017) by Iveta Karpathyova
Phases of Dance: Lo Dice La Gente bachata Animated Short (2017) by Iveta Karpathyova


Rotoscoping is an animation technique that uses live-action film as its base. For her Master of Design final presentation, Iveta Karpathyova, an illustrator, animator, bachata dancer and instructor, used footage of herself and her dance partner, Pavlo Farmakidis, performing the bachata in a black-box space to create a rotoscoped film. The result, Phases of Dance, is a work that explores rotoscoping’s potential in documenting embodied knowledge, such as the technique, rhythms and partnering of bachata. 

“In the process of frame-by-frame interpretation of the movement, at twelve frames per second,” writes Karpathyova “as an animator, I analyzed aspects of visual expression, performance and technique in my dance practice.” The touches of colour in the animation highlight points of impact, energy dispersion and moments of muscle tension in the sequence. For the moments in which the dancing partners separate from each other, two different camera angles were used, so that only one partner remains out of the shot, reminiscent of moments in a lesson where one might learn the leader and follower parts separately before performing them together.  

The full project took four months of production, and Karpathyova created 2100 individual drawings over a two-month period. The number in the bottom left of the frame is the production timeline, and the frame count is noted on the bottom right.

Karpathyova came to dance by way of studying kung fu in Paris, France. Two of her kung fu masters invited her to join them at a dance social in 2013 and she has been dancing ever since then. She performs as part of Cadence Dance Academy’s bachata/salsa performance group in Toronto, and she and Farmakidis teach salsa/bachata and private lessons in Etobicoke for Salsa In The 6ix.

Phases of Dance was presented on Friday, March 31 at OCAD’s Open Gallery in Toronto. 

Some of Karpathyova’s favourite socials to hit in the GTA include Dame Tu Bachata Dance Social held on the second and fourth Saturday of the month at the Dovercourt House in Toronto, The Bachata Room on Wednesdays at Posh Supperclub in Toronto and Monday’s Miss Bachata and Salsa on Sundays at Wild Wing Lakeshore in Mississauga.

Learn more about the creation process of Phases of Dance >> ivetaka.com/animated-animator

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