The Science of Dance

VDA Science of Dance - Spring Symposium

Full Schedule


Saturday April 1st


Straus Dance Studio at Dartmouth - Berry Sports Center, Alumni Gymnasium

16 E Wheelock St, Hanover, NH 03755


9:30am - Check-in and registration begins.

Make your way to the Straus Dance Studio (enter through the Alumni Gym main entrance, walk all the way through to the Berry Sports Center side - the Studio is on the second floor, nestled among the squash courts towards the front of the building. Please look for posted signs!




"Honoring the Individual Anatomy Structure of Each Dancer’s Foot and Ankle"


Irene Dowd, author of Taking Root to Fly, Dance Faculty at The Juilliard School, practice in neuromuscular education since 1968


Our feet are generally what we stand on, walk on, run on, jump on (if we have feet that can bear our weight). Thus, they serve as our most frequent interface with the ground beneath us. Our feet are composed of 26 bones and 30 joints so that their configuration can be quite different from person to person. The way we transfer weight through our feet and the way we use our feet will also shape them. Each foot will have a different appearance and different skills (often each of one's own feet is quite different in its attributes). We will consider all of these.


*ZOOM* Join us in person to view a shared feed of this workshop OR join from the comfort of your own home.

11:30am-1:00pm Lunch

Lunch tickets will be distributed for all those attending the day in person. Please receive your ticket at check-in.





“Natural Movement and the Creative Process”


Kate Gamble, BFA, MSPT

Founder Open Door Integrative Wellness - Physical and Somatic Therapist, Dancer, Choreographer


Using the wisdom of the neurodevelopmental sequence as a sourcing foundation and teaching principle in dance.


Class description:

Through a brief presentation, discussion, and movement exploration we will familiarize ourselves with the Neurodevelopmental Sequence.

  • The neuro-developmental sequence is the development of movement behavior that sequentially progresses based upon movement principles.
  • Movement principles
  • Mobility before stability 
  • Simple before complex 

We will then explore through improvisational scores the way in which these movement patterns can be an excellent foundation for creating and teaching dance.

We will have time to feel into the inherent grace, ease, and biomechanical safety around these movement patterns. Open to All Levels.

Please wear comfortable clothing and no shoes.


*In Person*


Bio-Mimetic Choreography Workshop


Jessica Trout-Haney, PhD


Biologist/dancer Dr. Trout-Haney will guide us through the trajectory of her research, beginning with a presentation on bird activity in Nova Scotia, where we will use bird calls and movements to instigate improvisational prompts.

In the second part, she will expand on the idea of alternative data visualization, and she will use movement and the choreographic process to help understand the life cycles and characteristics of cyanobacteria. Models as small as the life cycle of an individual bacteria to as large as the generational effects of climate change on polar lakes will be used to inspire group work and collaborative practice.

This use of scientific research to inspire movement and choreography follows neatly in the life and work of Dr. Trout-Haney. The workshop is the newest experience in Big Move: a Hop series of dance experiences and discussions that pairs inventive dance artists with wide-ranging areas of research here at Dartmouth.

*In Person*

5:00pm-7:00pm Break for Dinner *dinner options attached*

7pm-9pm  Dance Camera West showing at the Lowe (tickets reserved at check-in)


Sunday April 2nd

Contemporary Dance & Fitness Studio

18 Langdon St, Montpelier, VT

9:30am - Check-in and registration begins.

Third floor of the Langdon Block. Find the entrance right next to Onion River Outdoors



"Dancing Brains and Thinking Bodies”


Emily S. Cross, Professor of Human Neuroscience and Social Robotics, University of Glasgow and Western Sydney University

@brain_on_dance /


This lecture will present a whirlwind tour of the latest research that combines human neuroscientific techniques with dance to explore questions related to how the brain changes as our bodies acquire physical expertise, how dancers learn by physical practice vs. observation, how (and why?) we derive aesthetic pleasure from watching dance (and how our own bodies influence the aesthetic value of dance), and will conclude with a forward-looking view at what might be on the horizon for AI-infused dance making and spectating. 



*ZOOM* Join us in person to view a shared feed of this workshop OR join from the comfort of your own home.

11:30am-1:00pm Break for Lunch



Moving From the Bones


Willow R. Wonder, BFA, CPI, CZB


This is a class in Improvising from our deepest parts. Calling on my training in Klein TechniqueTM , we will explore different stretches that help to align our skeletal system and release muscular holding patterns. We will bring this new awareness into our dancing using improvisational scores that awaken our energetic and structural connection to the floor, gravity, and other bodies in space.


*In Person*





Dance/Movement Therapy: Origins, Practical Uses, and Experiences


Alexandra Welych-Miller, LCMHC, R-DMT


In this seminar, we will discuss the origins of Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT), its efficacy in mental health treatment, and avenues of pursuing DMT as a career. We will engage in a variety of movement interventions involving group and individual work and discuss settings and populations with which this expressive treatment modality can be used.


*In Person*

4:30pm-6:00pm Break for Dinner


Works-In-Progress Showing


Sign-up for a slot here to show something you’ve been working on, playing with, thinking about. Bring questions and be ready to watch, share, and support each other in our own creative processes.



One day ticket: $50

Full Weekend Pass: $90

VDA Member/Student one day: $30

VDA Member/Student Full Weekend Pass: $60

Zoom only: $40 (2 classes)  *option to purchase and watch later*




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