Review: Kinetica - Where Science Meets Art
The idea behind MADSOC’s Kinetica is compelling. It’s a 2 hour dance production where science meets art. The show is based around a range of scientific and psychological concepts which integrate with various dance styles.
My immediate attention before receiving a screening of the show was focused not on how it would play out, but how the performers will attempt to market ‘Kinetica’ amid the direct competition of ‘Law Law Land’. The Law Revue is always heavily anticipated each year and generally draws a large audience, creating a hefty challenge for the MADSOC executive. Emily Zhong (Bachelor of Engineering[Biomedical])and Tiarne Gillgcan (Bachelor of Applied Science [Diagnostic Radiography]), who are the producer and director respectively, understand the steep challenges they face in attracting audiences but hope their unique ideas will come through.
Zhong and Gilligan were selected earlier this year to head the production and oversaw a highly competitive audition to recruit 90-odd dancers in March 2017. They both identified STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students as individuals who will be potentially drawn to their show but this is a market that is not traditionally known for attending university-based productions.
Perhaps having 20+ contact hours a week on campus is the reason for STEM students to run as far away from the university when they get a chance and thus attend events less frequently than their humanities counterparts. However, being a STEM student myself, I was curious to see if the Zhong and Gilligan were right, in that the show would appeal to the likes of people like myself.
Not knowing much about MADSOC beforehand meant my expectations for the show were low but I was pleasantly surprised at the work of art that I witnessed.
The first half of the show struck a nice balance between intensity and calmness. The tone is set from the start with a smooth transition from the solo contemporary dance displaying metamorphosis to a high tempo jazz performance that demonstrated the process of DNA cloning. My personal highlight of the first half was the tap dancing applied to portray the oscillation of particles including the formation of a sine wave by the dancers which is sure to wow any STEM students in the audience. The show must be commended for gathering a team of choreographers with a variety of dance backgrounds. The clever selection of songs, such as the very intimate RnB song of ‘Party Favours’ by Tinashe when performing the psychology behind ‘seduction’ was something to note.
Some challenges that the audience may face in the second half when viewing the contemporary dances, is trying to comprehend what intended scientific process is being portrayed and unpacking the certain roles of the dancers. In these instances, it is best to enjoy the dance and the abilities of the performers as a spectacle alone. It was certainly quite a sight to see the ‘Fuego,’ a Latin rendition displaying the laws of thermodynamics through a Spanish bullfight. The duo in this case were graceful and rhythmic in portraying the sport that is infamously gruesome. A hip hop delivery towards the end of the show was an inspired choice to display how atoms donate and accept electrons to achieve stability, and brought back memories of Year 11 Chemistry to yours truly.
The choreographers have allowed the many talents in their ensemble to flourish using a wide variety of dance styles. It’s often said that we retain 90% of any concepts that we teach, but perhaps Kinetica will show a future educational method in that we can learn much more in a case such as behaving as a particle in a scientific process.
It is not often we see the beauty of science depicted in this manner, so I would highly recommend people to buy tickets at what can be stated as reasonable prices. There is something in it for everyone, whether you’re a STEM student, a lover of the arts or just looking for another way to procrastinate from studying on a Friday night.