All That Physics Allows

Exploring the ups and downs of dance.

May/June 2010

Reading time min

All That Physics Allows

Toni Gauthier

If you watch video of "Fell," a dance choreographed by Katharine Hawthorne, '10, you're as likely to be gripped by the sound of the performers' bodies hitting the floor as by the sight of their energetic leaps, sprints and twirls.

Hawthorne, inspired by research done as part of her physics major, set out to explore how "we assert a sense of verticality and then relinquish it to gravity." Ooh, aah—then thud, smack!

Hawthorne's creation, which pulses with the lithe power evident in this photo, was part of the Stanford dance division's Winter Works concert. Central to the aesthetic experience, says Hawthorne, a drama minor concentrating in dance, is the audience's emotional reaction to each dancer's moments of suspension and fall. Some landings are louder and more forceful, some more tempered, nuanced and softer.

You May Also Like

© Stanford University. Stanford, California 94305.