STEM Dance-ology’s Big Debut!

Having workshopped the Tumor Killing Bacteria (TKB) activity twice, we felt confident about the content as we headed to the California Academy of Sciences for their NightLife Series. We were assigned a prime location (next to the penguins!), we had a booth staffed with fabulous volunteers, we had posters with engaging and explanatory artwork by Judy Johnson-Williams, and we were wearing our best fuchsia rompers (not all scientists wear white lab coats, especially when they are dancing). We glued on our false eyelashes, plugged a particularly groovy playlist into the great audio-visual equipment the museum provided, and stood waiting for our first victims to wander by.

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Amanda and Shaila hanging out with the penguins before the dancing starts!

The biggest challenge of the evening turned out to be getting visitors to stand still long enough to get them to dance! Folks would come by singly or in pairs, express delight and interest in the idea, but then say, “I’ll come back when there are more people.” No one wanted to be the first to participate. This is where force of will and our indispensable volunteers came into play.   They filled out our numbers enough to start the first round of the activity, and we immediately started drawing a crowd. After that, we worked hard to gather up participants, and once we reached a critical mass, we started another cycle of the activity.

We ended up co-creating an original “TKB” dance about five times that night, with each iteration being unique. We had a group that incorporated singing 90’s jams during one of the bacterial functions, another that used a bow and arrow as a move, and yet another used the space we had to run around and kill some tumors. Video of the evening by Frazier Phillips demonstrates these awesome choreographic adventures, how non-scientists picked up scientific lingo, and more highlights from the night. Fun was had by all!
-Amanda & Shaila

Video:
Synthetic Dance-ology: Cal Academy of Sciences Event

Gallery:
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