UMass Dance to Present Innovative Convergence Performance Gallery
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
The UMass Amherst Dance Program will premiere Convergence, an innovative and exciting performance gallery and film project, on Feb. 2-4 at 7:30 p.m. each evening in the Totman Performance Lab (doors at 7:00 p.m.). A single admission price of $15 provides access to all three evenings. Convergence is presented by the Dance Program’s Laboratory for the Scientific Study of Dance (LAB:SYNC), the Department of Music and Dance, and Five College Dance.
Each evening will feature a separate artistic presentation of methods and findings from an active clinical trial underway at LAB:SYNC, the nation’s first National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab to focus on the relationship between dance and health in adults. LAB:SYNC director Aston K. McCullough and his team are seeking to develop and validate sensor-based methods for quantifying dance exposures in adults and to test relationships between multiple health outcomes and self-reported lifetime dance exposures. Currently, McCullough and co-investigators are conducting the METRIC study, a measurement of professional dance training exposures and health correlates in 18- to 85-year-old adults.
As an alternative to a traditional scientific presentation, Convergence brings the audience into a blended world of dance performance and scientific research communication. McCullough has teamed with Five College collaborators Chris Aiken, Barbie Diewald, and Jenna Riegel to stage the METRIC study research design and preliminary results conceptually and theatrically. The exhibition also features contributions from UMass music faculty, including Salvatore Macchia, who composed the interactive live score, and percussionist Ayano Kataoka, who will perform Macchia’s work alongside audio engineer Jazer Giles.
Each outfitted with sensors, dancers Aiken, Diewald, McCullough, and Riegel will generate and respond to their own live-streamed data presented through visualization stations positioned around the space, allowing them to respond to unpredictable real-time changes in sonic stimuli caused by their own movement choices. The quartet will be joined by fellow dancers Frankie Barron, Brette Cronin, Sophie Leveille, Nicole Lombardi, Jillian Murray, Alec Galavotti, and Julia Susi, all working together to open an impressionistic window into the scientific rationale and design for the METRIC study.
The Totman Performance Lab will open at 7:00 PM each evening, with the formal exhibition activities starting at 7:30 PM. The February 2-4 performance gallery will include movements 1 -4 of Convergence; the live schedule of events taking place in the gallery can be found here.
Tickets are $15 for the general public, and free for Five College students with ID, available from the Fine Arts Center Box Office at www.fineartscenter.com/musicanddance or by phone at 413-545-2511. The $15 admission price provides visitors with entry for any of the three evenings. Attendees may enter/exit the performance gallery on the days that are of interest to them; those attending February 3 and 4 will have access to video and data captured at previous performances through interactive visualization stations. Seating is very limited, so advance ticket holders should arrive by 7:15 PM to ensure priority access.
The Convergence presentations will also be captured on video for use in creating a new film about dance and health that will be available to a wider audience in an aesthetically legible format.
The Dance Program has initiated a MinuteFund to support Convergence and the talented team of artists, engineers, students, faculty, and staff working to make the live performances and the new film a reality. Donors to the MinuteFund will be granted access to the performance gallery for a special preview of the exhibit on Wednesday, February 1 at 7:00 PM.
The Totman Performance Lab is located at 30 Eastman Lane on the north side of the campus. Free and secure parking is available in nearby University lot 43 after 5 p.m. - refer to the UMass interactive parking map for more information.