A still from "Pop, Dip and Spin: The Legendary Biosensor For Forensic Sciences," an entry in the Dance Your Ph.D. contest (via YouTube)

A Ballet About Dark Energy? A Vogue Battle About Biosensors? These "Dance Your Ph.D." Videos Will Blow Your Mind

Science is fascinating. But trying to understand extremely detailed scientific research can be...less than fascinating.

Unless there's a dance about it.

For the past 10 years, Science magazine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have hosted the Dance Your Ph.D. contest, an annual event that challenges Ph.D. candidates in 12 scientific categories to create interpretive dances about their research. It is exactly as weird, and exactly as amazing, as it sounds. Previous winners have included a tap/salsa/circus medley about heart valve bioengineering and a romantic dance epic about titanium alloys for hip replacements.

This year's finalists have just been announced, and they are an especially fabulous bunch, with dancers hailing from as far afield as Brazil, France, Russia, and India. (No fewer than three of the 12 videos incorporate classical Indian dance—how cool is that?) Check out a couple of our favorites below, and then head to the official voting page before November 1 to pick your winner.

Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search