Understanding Microscopic Worlds Through Choreography and Play

2 Minutes with the Microbiome: Embodied Research Through Dance

Join us for Balancing Act, a series of choreographed vignettes created by Associate Professor Anne Burnidge. The performance navigates the intricacies of the human microbiome and its effects on our mood, relationships, and overall well-being. Through dance sequences, folk-songs, video montage and spoken text, Burnidge and dancers explore issues that affect the homeostasis of the microbial-human ecosystem.

Public Performance

Balancing Act examines the gut microbiome through dance and other media, portraying: competing media messages; trying to adopt a diet with pre- and pro-biotics; “good” and “bad” microbes; playing in the dirt; how microbes impact romantic attraction; and more!

Lighting, sound, and set design will coalesce into an installation for the audience to interact with during and after the performance. The audience will enter through a tunnel reminiscent of the digestive tract. A microbe-ball pit will be used by dancers during the performance and be available for children to play in afterward. Lights, fabric and plastic mulch will create a mini-plot of grass that audience members can play in. Video montages will allow audience members to observe the creation of the work.

Anne Burnidge Dance Company performing “Semi-Permeable." Photo Credit: Laura Nasca.

Artistic collaborators include Carlie Todoro-Rickus (lighting designer), Eric Burlingame (sound designer), John Rickus (technical director) and Collin Ranney (costume and set designer).

Anne Burnidge Dance features performances by: Courtney Barrow, Elyssa Bourke, Alexia Buono, Stephani Foraker, Nancy Hughes, Monica Karwan,  Rachel Keane, Brooke Laura, Michaela Neild, and Cynthia Pegado.

Balancing Act is a component of a broader creative investigation of the human body as a host ecosystem for microbial communities, titled, "What We Leave Behind.” The project explores ideas relating to the adaptability of microbiota to changing environmental stimuli, revealing themes of diversity, mutation, symbiosis, antibiotic resistance, and resiliency.