“Genius!” “Dancing!”

P.Z. Myers has the opportunity to dance his Ph.D. thesis, in the third annual “Dance Your Ph.D.” interpretative dance video contest. Sadly, the contest is only open to the physical sciences and social sciences. But, that doesn’t have to stop me from choreographing in my head.

An interpretive dance for my dissertation would involve:

  • six dancers in muted blue, dancing in a Martha-Graham-inspired, low-to-the-ground style of resigned but heart-felt obedience. These represent the chapters Daniel 1–6.
  • four dancers in shades of concrete gray, who dance sweeping steps around the Dan 1–6 dancers, lording it over them, occasionally lifting them up to moderate heights, while a nameless crew of faceless figures in black threatens the whole but always bounce harmlessly back into the wings. The four dancers in gray represent the gentile nations.
  • six dancers in blazing orange, who represent Daniel 7–12. They take the stage, pick up the dancers in blue, and use them to bludgeon the four dancers in gray. They then incorporate the now-unconscious dancers in blue into their own active, aggressive display.
  • the stage becomes a giant cloud on which the 12 blue and orange dancers join, pyramid-like, into a single human figure.
  • the cloud bursts into a giant chrysanthemum.

How does your dissertation translate into modern dance?

[“Genius!” “Dancing!” was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/07/01. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

2 Responses

  1. I just read this blog aloud to Adam who replied: “Lester is insanely creative, he probably wrote that in 10 minutes but it sounds as if he has been thinking about it for years.”

    Thank you for your blog, Dr. Lester. We are obsessed.

    Also, I appreciate your Martha Graham reference… Love her!


    • You’re too kind, Ashley. And if you don’t call me Brooke, I’m going to ban you.

      My modern dance teacher was suffused in Graham, so my undergraduate years involved a lot of trying to get a 6’2″ body to stay low to the ground. And I admit, that ever since reading A Dream Play, I’ve been waiting patiently to turn *something* into a giant chrysanthemum.

      Money quote from Dream Play: “That it can’t be absolutely equal for all, I understand. But how can it be so unequal?”

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