Overview: SciDance is a collaboration between scientists and aerial dancers that will result in an aerial theater performance created by my aerial dance company Flight Collaborative. This work leverages methods of communicating in those respective fields, creating an immersion into scientific topics that is wholly different from the experience of either listening to a lecture or seeing an abstract dance performance. It will be both cerebral and kinesthetic!
Format and aesthetic: The performance will include three 15-20 minute acts, each focusing on the work of an Earth systems scientist, including the topics of forest regeneration, fire processes, and flood-erosion feedbacks. Each act will begin with the scientist delivering a 3-5 minute research lecture in the traditional academic format (i.e., the scientist speaking, accompanied by a powerpoint projected on a single surface). The act will then become increasingly abstract for its duration. Sound clips from the lecture will be looped and overlaid onto music, images from the powerpoint will be abstracted and projected onto multiple surfaces, and dancers who are responding both to the sound clips and the images will gradually be incorporated.
Development of the work: The three acts will be developed over several sessions. In the initial session for each act, a scientist will deliver a research lecture to the artists, followed by Q & A. The dancers will be led through a series of improvisational exercises in which they will be asked to respond to the lecture in various ways (e.g., use different movement qualities to interpret a concept), culminating in a rough-draft dance piece. In subsequent sessions, the dancers will collaboratively develop the pieces, working iteratively with a projection artist and scientists so that collaborators in different fields will have an opportunity to learn from one another. These sessions will result in three independent but related 15-20 minute acts that constitute the final work.
Funded by Boulder, CO (June 2017)