Daily Archives: April 9, 2007

Dancing with Scientists

dancing geneWhat do genetic scientists and dancers have in common?

They both look for ways to express the beauty of their work and want the world to care about what they do according to Liz Learman of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.

Liz is a distinguished scholar who was brought to Ann Arbor by the University of Michigan School of Art & Design.

James and I had the pleasure of a mind-boggling hour learning from Liz Lerman – along with several hundred A&D students. Liz’s group has a project: Ferocious Beauty: Genome which is designed to help the average person understand the conversation and beauty in the study of genetics. (It’s “nonfiction” dancing.)

At this lecture, we were privileged to hear from Liz and two of her dancers about how they actually created the experience – working very closely with leading scientists from across the country.

Liz talked about how when you touch things and interact with them it creates deep meaning. (Sounds like the important role that so many chapters play.)

She asserted that many of our are held hostage by our professions – and need to make effort to interact more with those not in our lab, dance studio, office, etc. (Made me think of the saying “You can’t appreciate what you don’t understand.”)

Liz explained how she started her collaboration with the scientists – and how they co-created the finished product. According to Liz, if you ask big enough questions, you need a diverse team to answer them.

We also got to see snippets of the multi-media finished product along with a few dances that showcased how genetics work. (James and I both wished we could see the entire production!)

If dance professionals and genetic scientists could create such an amazing work; what could other seemingly “odd couples” produce?  I’m going to start looking at some of the people I know with new eyes…

Has your chapter collaborated with possibly “unexpected’ partners to create something dynamic?

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