I recently came across a great article in Smithsonian magazine entitled "A Dancer and a Scientist Deliver a New Take on the Moon Walk". The article is about a new piece by choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess that was performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC this weekend. In developing this new work Burgess interviewed numerous scientists - astrophysicists, NASA staffers, and former astronauts - in order to get a feel for the creativity that goes into their work as space scientists.
As I read the article I was reminded of several works of science fiction I had also read over the years, and I realized that there is quite a bit of overlap between these seemingly disparate fields. Here are a few examples:
Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. This short story, published in 1961, is one of the most memorable reads from my childhood. It is a cautionary and satirical tale of a future society in which everyone is "made equal" via government imposed mental and physical handicaps. Television announcers have speech impediments, people deemed to be "handsome" or "pretty" must wear masks, and most importantly ballerinas are forced to wear weights to prevent them from moving "too gracefully".
Star Dancer by Spider and Jeanne Robinson. In this novel, a brilliant dancer and choreographer is constrained in her career because of her "body type". Her solution is to develop a new form of three dimensional dance in the weightlessness of space. Ultimately, it is the art form she creates that convinces aliens bent on destroying Earth that humanity is worth saving.
Grand Jete by Rachel Swirsky. This haunting story is about a holocaust survivor who attempts to create a mechanical replacement for his terminally ill ballerina daughter.
I'm Allan Redstone, one of the co-owners of Opus. I'll use this blog to post news items about Opus, as well as dance and music related items that may be of interest to our school community