Dancing Molecules, Dancing Bodies

Winter 2017
Spring 2017
Credits per quarter

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Our bodies are always moving. Even when you are sitting absolutely still, there is movement throughout your body — the pumping of your heart, the flow of blood through your blood vessels, and a continuous vibration of the molecules that make up your body. In this program we will explore dance from the perspectives of culture, physiology, and introductory chemistry. We will explore properties in chemistry connected to movement (conductivity, molecular vibrations, energy, reactivity, and solubility) and study how chemicals both construct and move within the human body. Students will become in tune with their bodies through movement and dance workshops and scientific studies of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. We will examine and perform dance, not simply within categories like ballet or modern, but from a broader perspective of movement and culture.

Winter quarter we will begin to examine the molecular, anatomical, and physiological basis of dance and other demanding activities. Through labs and lectures we will gain an understanding of how these systems function to allow us to do anything from walking across the street to performing the complex movements of dance. Concepts from introductory biology will be reinforced in dance workshops and students will be encouraged to learn through paying attention to what is happening in their own bodies. Students will begin to develop an understanding of the dance community and how it fits into a larger social and community context. Some time will also be spent unpacking issues of privilege, stereotypes, and accessibility in the fields of dance, chemistry, and biology.

This model of the culture of dance will continue to be refined in spring through readings and other texts, including film and performances. We will continue to explore the physiology and molecular biology behind dance and discuss nutrition in the context of exercise physiology and dance. We will also explore the idea of dance in other animals. Spring quarter students will work on a group project that brings together various threads of the program and which will culminate in a final presentation and performance.

We will explore these topics through seminar assignments, exams and quizzes, reflective writing, laboratory experiments, movement workshops, and a group choreography assignment. No previous experience in dance, biology, or chemistry is required.

Fields of study: 

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: performing arts, sciences, and health.

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

$75 per quarter for event tickets.

Scheduled for: Day

Located in: Olympia

Advertised schedule:

First spring class meeting: Monday, April 3 at 10am (Sem II A1105)

2016-12-12This program will now accept students of all class levels (Fr-Sr).
2016-04-18Fees increased (from $50 to $75).