I love design projects that give me the chance to reflect on years of past experiences, and this piece was no exception (for other examples, check out my work in the Digital Art section). You can trace the origins of this work back to 2018, when I decided it would be a good idea to start a dance journal to track my progress as both a student and teacher of choreography. The journal itself isn’t very elaborate (it’s actually a Google Sheet, since I do almost everything digitally these days), but it does the job of keeping track of every class I’ve taken, workshop I’ve led, and performance I’ve been a part of, in addition to personal and technical lessons learned with each experience. A few summers ago I began toying with the idea of creating some sort of visual representation of this unique, personal dataset as a way to commemorate and reflect on my journey so far.
Although I initially tried mapping the data to a linear timeline (the result was actually pretty neat and reminded me of an inverted tree), I ultimately settled on the design you see above. The overall layout was inspired by this cool NYC Subway poster I found online, and the individual blocks were loosely based on the Material Design chips you see in many Google products. A number of details in this design make me particularly happy, such as the rounded corners in the blocks, which imply a sort of softness, or how the different shades of blue play off one another. Getting the left and right edges of all the blocks to align was also challenging, but all of the painstaking, detailed work was worth it once I finally finished laying everything out.
Definitely the best part of creating this work was getting to reflect on the tremendous volume of experiences that have helped get me to this point in my dance journey. I’m lucky to have videos from a large number of these, and going through them was a nostalgic time as it caused me to think about music, choreography, and even fellow dancers (some of whom I haven’t seen in a long time) from my past. Reflecting on the process is such a huge part of my life journey, and I plan to continue the practice into the future of my dance journey and beyond.