A new method for representing and recognizing human body movements is presented. Assuming the availability of Cartesian tracking data, we develop techniques for representation of movements based on space curves in subspaces of a ``phase space.'' The phase space has axes of joint angles and torso location and attitude, and the axes of the subspaces are subsets of the axes of the phase space. Using this representation we develop a system for learning new movements from ground truth data by searching for constraints which are in effect during the movement to be learned, and not in effect during other movements. We then use the learned representation for recognizing movements in data.
Prior approaches by other researchers used a small number of classification categories, which demanded less attention to representation. We train and test the system on nine fundamental movements from classical ballet performed by two dancers. The system learns and accurately recognizes the nine movements in an unsegmented stream of motion.