Students Collaborate with U of M, Professional Dancers to Solve Scientific Problems

Through a method called bodystorming, Perpich Center for Arts Education students will work with University of Minnesota professors and dancers from Black Label Movement to learn more about science.

If you think that science and dance don’t mix, think again.

On Tuesday, Jan. 8, professors from the University of Minnesota and dancers from Black Label Movement, will convene at Golden Valley’s Perpich Center for Arts Education to engage in a type of scientific dance called bodystorming.

Simply put, bodystorming is a process where, through dance, solutions for scientific problems are formed through various movements.

“It’s really a brain storming version of working with the body to work through scientific movement models,” Perpich ArtScience Coordinator Tory Peterson said. “Bodystorming is simply brainstorming, but done with the body.”

David Odde, director of undergraduate studies for the University of Minnesota’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, will work with Carl Fink, Black Label Movement’s artistic director, to exhibit bodystorming at Perpich. Peterson said that about 40 ArtScience students will watch the demonstration, and then work with Perpich dancers to create their own models.

Science Magazine reports that Odde and Fink first started working together  when they both received small grants from the Institute for Advanced Study to study the concept of time.

Peterson said that now, through the partnership between the university and the dance group, Odde gets to develop some of the modeling that he wants to see happen with his cell research. Through bodystorming, Odde also gets an opportunity to model cell structures right away, rather than spending months on the computer.

“We try to collaborate with professionals on a regular basis,” Peterson said. “To me, it’s really important to get these kids out of the classroom and into the community. I have received wonderful support from the community in terms of sharing what they know with my kids.”

According to a recent press release, ArtScience is a new program at Perpich that combines aesthetic and analytical ways of thinking. This year, Peterson is working with Perpich teacher Brian Pickerell to help students focus on topics like bioluminescence, pheromones and melatonin.

Tuesday’s bodystorming event will help Peterson’s students figure out some of the movement models of bioluminescence and pheromones.

“It’s an opportunity for my kids to not have to sit at a computer to model all of this stuff,” Peterson said. “Instead, they will interact and work alongside their colleagues in another art area.”

Ann Waltner January 07, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Conversation about this project at the U of M in 2011. http://ias.umn.edu/2011/04/20/moving-cell/
Ann Waltner January 07, 2013 at 01:41 PM
And another video demonstrating the project, also from 2011. http://ias.umn.edu/2011/09/22/moving-cell-2/
Valerie Engler January 07, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Wonderful. Thanks, Ann!
Peggy Rader January 07, 2013 at 02:02 PM
Yes, thanks for this great addition to the story, Ann.


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