Bodystorming with the Stars

Written by Nancy LaRoche.

This article at The Patch split-leaped to my attention, illustrating the wonderful dance moves higher education makes with public/private funding:

Students Collaborate with U of M, Professional Dancers to Solve Scientific Problems

On Tuesday, Jan. 8, professors from the University of Minnesota and dancers from Black Label Movement, will convene at Golden Valley’s Perpich Center for Arts Education to engage in a type of scientific dance called bodystorming.

Simply put, bodystorming is a process where, through dance, solutions for scientific problems are formed through various movements.

Wikipedia’s definition:

It is the idea is to imagine what it would be like if the product existed, and act as though it exists, ideally in the place it would be used. Its going through an idea with improvised artifacts and physical activities to envision a solution.

Talk about dancing around the subject! Where did the money for this effort come from?

Science Magazine reports that Odde and Fink first started working together when they both received small grants from the Institute for Advanced Study to study the concept of time.

IAS is with the University of Minnesota, currently doing a song and dance routine for $91.6 million in funding over the biennium for a tuition freeze this legislative session. The Black Label Movement gets grant funding from the Minnesota Legacy tax passed in 2008.

I’m all for the arts and creative thinking, but what about promoting critical thinking? Going back in history, I’m not finding Albert Einstein going Gangnam Style to create his Theory of Relativity, or pioneering clinical medicine study from Hip Hop-crates.

Why the dance?

“It’s an opportunity for my kids to not have to sit at a computer to model all of this stuff,” Peterson said. “Instead, they will interact and work alongside their colleagues in another art area.”

If I'm not mistaken, job applicants in the sciences will need expertise in 3D-CAD software. Which scientific problems will bodystorming tango with?

Tuesday’s bodystorming event will help Peterson’s students figure out some of the movement models of bioluminescence and pheromones

Biouminescence: the production and emission of light by a living organism. (i.e. fireflies)

Phereomone: a chemical substance produced and released into the environment by an animal. (i.e. honeybees)

They had to stretch coming up with a form of science to join in a dance. Creativity is needed for solving problems and communicating ideas, but that shouldn't replace the discipline of a classical education with technology.

Bodystorming may seem cool, but it’s not going to get a 10 score in real life application. Just ask Isaac Newton if he invented calculus or discovered the theory of gravitation because he crib-walked in school.

Back to the basics, please. Promote creativity, but put that grant and taxpayer funding towards making students job-ready in the real world of science when they graduate. My solution? Get the FIRST robotics program into their school.