Dancing phosphorus once again

I am actually starting to create the dance piece I envisioned 2 years ago (ok well with a few changes).  I few months ago, at a food system sustainability meeting, I met a great PhD student from Concordia University who founded the sensorium and who promotes and collaborates with artists working on different facets of the Montreal food system. We got to talking, I mentioned my P is for Play idea, and we decided we could indeed collaborate.

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P is for play project
Photo credit: Eve Marie Beauchemin

In order to fit within the mission of the Sensorium, I needed to adapt my original vision of the project. It needed to be a more public and a more participatory learning experience for the audience, and also try to make the food link explicit in more than one way. The objective of the piece was always educational so basically it was just a question of altering the type of learning the piece could deliver.

As of now, the plan includes performing in a metro station (so underground which is cool because P is a mined resource and is in soils), making the project more of a public piece, making the dance participatory (so members of the public actually participate in the performance), and providing a little food tasting where the P content of foods is labeled. The piece is also suppose to be done with bilingual narration, thus accessible to the more of the Montreal audience.

In order to alter my original idea and make it work in this new performance context, I think the piece needs to be:

  • Short (I am thinking 10 to 20 minutes at the moment)
  • Include a small non-participatory performance piece
  • Narration (its hard to keep things short in concise when doing bilingual so that will be a challenge)
  • A learning the participatory part with narration of what each move means
  • A final little participatory performance
  •  Ending with a questions and discussion section at the food table

By making it short I think we can retain the attention of people in the public space, and we could even do the piece more than once.

Next Monday, my co-choreographer and I are going to visit our rehearsal space with our new Concordia collaborator and thus I have started doing a little research on participatory dance and other art-science collaborations. Although I obviously have some ideas of how I want to proceed, the scientist in me wants to go to the “literature” and learn from what has been done.

Through my research about how to create a participatory piece here are a couple of the projects I cam across and I thought I would share for good measure.

Computer algorithms and folk dance

Oceans health and climate change

There is also a fair bit of relevant literature on community science, action science, and knowledge co-creation (without a specific dance component) and then on participatory dance (without a specific science communication theme).

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