TED Talks-featured dance group comes to UNT, performs science

TED Talks-featured dance group comes to UNT, performs science

April 09
09:46 2014

Tricia Sims // Intern Writer 

Fans of dance and science will have an opportunity to see the two worlds combine during a showcase from a visiting scientist and modern dance ensemble.

“It is something different than, like, a speaker or an exhibit or just a dance performance,” said Ava Sharbaf, fashion design senior and Fine Art Series committee member. “It is combining science, which doesn’t get a lot of attention, and dance, making it entertaining and educational. This gives both areas a new perspective to the audience.”

On Thursday, the Fine Arts Series will be presenting ‘A Modest Proposal,’ a science presentation by John Bohannon featuring the Black Label Movement, a dance group from Minneapolis, Minn., in the auditorium at 8 p.m. Students can get free tickets at untuniontickets.com. Tickets cost $5 for UNT faculty, staff members and alumni, and $10 for the general public.

The idea to have the collaborative troupe at UNT came from a Fine Art Series graduate assistant who saw the group on a ‘TED Talks’ video last year. The collaboration performs all over the U.S., and UNT negotiated a visit to Denton.

“We try to do some fun and sometime unusual, trendy things to spark some interest on people’s part and help bring them,” Fine Arts Series Assistant Director Mark Packer said. “None of us knew about this before it was presented to us, but after we were all very much in favor of trying to do it.”

The performance itself is about 30 minutess. Afterward, the creative director and the artistic director of the Black Label Movement and John Bohannon are doing a special question and answer session with the audience.

“It is crazy how you can perform science basically,” said Laura Lee Brott, art history master’s student and Fine Arts Series graduate assistant. “We are trained to think that you perform poetry, dance, theatre and art. To perform science is novel and new, and it could really change the way people understand those scientific ideas.”

Brott said this performance shows students there are different methods for learning things, whether it is biology or dance.

“It is a really good way to see how people are creatively approaching topics that might not be creative, like science,” Brott said. “It is sort of bringing the sciences and humanities together. It is a good way to bridge the gap. It might influence students that are more into the humanities look more into scientific disciplines, because of what they have learned and vice versa.”

The speaker, Bohannon, has a PhD in molecular biology, and Sharbaf said being a hit on ‘Ted Talks’ will make him more appealing to students.

If students cannot make it to the performance on Thursday, a rehearsal is Wednesday at noon.

“It is something that you do not get to see every day, and you can learn something out of it,” Sharbaf said. “You will be like, ‘Why aren’t all science classes like this? I would like to see dancers in front of me explaining biology.’”

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