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Communicating scientific research through dance

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Category: research Video duration: Communicating scientific research through dance
Graduate and Doctoral students are exploring dance as a way to communicate and interpret their research. Rachel Rugh in the School of Performing Arts, in partnership with the Center for Communicating Science, runs the Virginia Tech workshop for students as inspired by the international "Dance Your Ph.D." competition run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The Virginia Tech Center for Communicating Science empowers researchers to connect, communicate, and collaborate. The project that I'm working on, the VT Dance Your Phd competition, this is the first time that we've ever done this. Was generously sponsored through the Center for Communicating Science. And we're really excited to have this as a pilot program through communicating science, and hopefully we'll continue to build it in the future. We have people from all different fields. We have marriage and family counseling, neuroscience, stream and wetland ecology. We have someone in industrial design. And so it's a very wide range of research topics. Science and art aren't on opposite ends of the spectrum as we're socialized to believe. As a choreographer, I come up with an idea. I do a lot of reading. I go to the studio. And then I start creating something and edit it down. And that's not super different than what I do as a researcher. There's an idea, I gather data and ideas. I look at those data and ideas, I create something and I start to edit it down. So for me, it feels like a parallel process. I want to encourage people to try something new and try to get out of their comfort zones because you always learn something surprising. Everyone communicates and receives information differently. And the more ways that we can practice reaching people in different ways, in new ways, in ways that we might not have thought of. We're only going to reach more people with the impact of our research. And I think as an artist, I learn a lot from scientists. And I love being able to sort of flip that script and be able to offer the things from my creative processes to the scientific community here.