Choreographers sometimes refer to dance studios, where their creative magic happens, as "labs." Now, thanks to David Odde, a biomedical engineer at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and Carl Flink, director of Black Label Movement and head of the university's theater and dance department, there is literally such a thing as a dance laboratory.
As a non-sciencey person, I might butcher this explanation, so be sure to read the detailed version here. But long story short(er): Odde wanted a way to illustrate how molecules bump into each other as they move around within a cell. He and Flink thought they might be able to use dancers to do just that. It took them a bit of experimenting to work out the logistics—bumping into another person hurts, after all, and various forms of padding, including sumo wrestler suits (!), were investigated before they figured out a non-padded, movement-based solution. (The dancers learned to spread the impact over as large an area of their bodies as possible, lessening the ouch factor.)
The result was apparently pretty great—great enough that Odde began using the dancers to test out various scientific hypotheses. Forget brainstorming: This is bodystorming.
Nifty, right? And the dance experiments look cool, too. So cool, in fact, that Flink was inspired to choreograph a dance, HIT, based on movements from the project. Check it out:
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.