When the sequencing of the human genome was announced to the public, choreographer Liz Lerman of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange was one of many who asked what this would mean for the future. To help answer these questions, she developed Ferocious Beauty: Genome, a multimedia piece that explores the current historic moment of revelation and questioning in genetic research. The subject is represented through a plurality of viewpoints, mirroring a dialogue among multiple voices — artistic, scientific, and scholarly — in all their varied perspectives.
She began collaborating with scientists across the country who investigate genes and their function. Wesleyan University began to work with Lerman in science classrooms using various movement-based tools developed by the Dance Exchange both to teach science and to encourage our students to think creatively about science – an exploration that has been met with great success. The scientists found new ways to think about and teach science, and the dancers came to understand more about how the scientists see the world.
With support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Center for Creative Research (with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), this experiment is expanding into middle and high school classrooms.
A new website for Science Choreography was launched on April 21, 2011. This multi-media site has tools for embodied learning and modules that include lessons and supplemental materials so you can bring science choreography to your classroom. You can also hear reflections from teachers and students about the effectiveness of these techniques for active engagement with science.