Taking science to the dance, and back again

The 2009 AAAS/Science Dance Contest

Those who saw the results of the first "Dance Your Ph.D." contest know that the human body is an excellent medium for communicating science--perhaps not as data-rich as a peer-reviewed article, but far more exciting. For this year's contest, the stage was much larger and the prize far grander. These were the RULES of the contest. And these were the WINNERS. The 4 winning scientists were then paired with 4 professional choreographers to create a dance based on peer-reviewed scientific research.


1. Watch the 4 dances.
2. Read the abstracts of the 4 research articles.
3. Guess which science inspired which dance.

Press: New York Times, New York Times again, Free Press, Are We Alone?, Great Dance, The Art of Science, Uncommon Ground
Also see: ABC News, NPR, New York Times, NPR again, Discover Magazine, Fox News, The Daily Clog

The experiment has concluded and here are the RESULTS!

Congratulations to the winner, the University of Vermont!

To see the full data set click HERE.

While 229 people took part online, 112 took part in live versions of the experiment around the world:

The Exploratorium, San Francisco, USA
April 23, during After Dark

The Science Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
April 29 to May 6 (daily 12 - 6pm)
May 5 (1pm), live experiment hosted by John Bohannon

University of Vermont, USA
May 14 (12pm)
Stafford Hall 101
MC: Ramiro Barrantes-Reynolds

IMBA-IMP, Vienna, Austria
May 13 (7pm)
Live experiment MC'ed by Christopher Campregher
* * *Sneak preview of Campregher's new contest for scientists, "Paint Your Ph.D." * *

MCgill University, Montreal, Canada
May 14 (12 - 1pm, 5 - 6pm)
Live experiment hosted by the McGill Postgraduate Student's Society
Thomson House
MC: Ladan Mahabadi

CeMM, Vienna, Austria
May 15 (5pm)
Mariannengasse 11 5th floor A-1090 Vienna
Live experiment MC'ed by Evren Karayel
Registration: experiment@cemm.oeaw.ac.at

Harvard University, USA
May 16 (5 - 8pm)
NorthWest Science Labs atrium
Live experiment MC'ed by John Bohannon

Biographies of the artists HERE.


Choreographer: Jenn Liang-Chaboud
Additional Movement Development: The Dancers
Dancers: BRAT, Emily Haines, Nadine Lollito, Chris McCray, Jonny Nobleza, Helena Reynolds
Music: Serge Lazarevitch

Choreography by: Christopher M. McCray
Dancers: Ginnia Higgins, Jeff Lynch, Christopher Courtney, Christina Chen, Sarah Keating, Paul Christiano
Costumes: Jackie Sancers
Music: Radicalfashion

Choreographer: Helena Reynolds
Dancers: Jessica Miller Tomlinson, Jeremy Blair, Whitney Cover, Megan Rhyme
Music: Adam Hubbell

Company: AMEBA Acrobatic & Aerial Dance
Choreographer: Chloe Jensen
Additional Movement Development: The dancers
Music: Timothy Quirk
Dancers: Christina Chen, Danielle Garrison, Dina Ballard, Elise Sipos, Emmy Walker, Linnea Schlegel, Melissa Bartz, Olivia May, Sarah Schmitt, Tracy Von Kaenel
Rigging & Rigging Changes: Kip Conwell, Geb Jensen
Rehearsal Director: Julie Petry

The AAAS/Science Dance Contest and THIS IS SCIENCE were made possible by generous support from the Executive Office of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world.

©2008 - John Bohannon - photos © Matt Chaboud