Event Combining Science with Modern Dance
By: Maria Bergman, Student Assistant for the STEAM Factory
The STEAM Factory’s very own astrophysicist and Space Radio Host, Paul Sutter, partnered with Syren Modern Dance. Together with this New York City dance company, they were able to create a journey through space and time. In partnership with WCBE to broaden the viewers scope, the event catered to those of all ages eager to partake in a new way of learning.
The perception and interconnection of time and space, relativity, time dilation, gravity fields, and the history of time instruments. All these topics among an array of other related physics concepts were explored. As Paul expanded our minds with new theories and connections, the company helped create visual fields for the information to take root.
Through preparation and work with the choreographer, and in collaboration with Paul, the steps and movements were given a scientific approach. When asked for an on-the-spot overview of the physics concepts, Paul gave 5 terms which the dancers each used to create a movement that was incorporated into the dance. In this way, the dance was choreographed to follow along with Paul’s narration so that each aspect was visually stimulating and accurate. The dancers weaved, jumped, and flew through space in time, and time in space. In addition, researchers from the departments of Psychology, Otolaryngology, Speech & Hearing Sciences and Music worked with Syren to create materials that will be used in various connected experiments. Focusing on how children and adults can perceive emotions in dance, and how they can break down dance sequences into distinct steps.
The event was a sneak peak showing for the larger performance that will take place around this time next year. The show will highlight and inform the audience in a new manner of teaching through the incorporation of visual aspects. Each aspect of this collaboration fits in with the message of the respective group. Together, they work to explain math and science with the momentum, angles, and force found in both dance and science. The company and Paul will continue to develop and finesse the performance over the next year. Upon completion they plan to take the show on the road and educate on how body movement and science relate in classrooms, galleries, and more venues to be later determined.