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Over the last three years, I've conducted several studies on the effects of improvisational dance on balance for people with Parkinson's disease. While a number of different dance styles have been studied and shown to be beneficial for Parkinson's, only one has used improvisation (a 2009 study on Contact by David Marchant and Madeleine Hackney). In my study, we used high speed motion capture video to capture the coordination changes and fMRI recordings to observe pre/post changes in brain connectivity. I'm offering our results here, because the pilot case study showed positive changes in the brain after an intensive trial of improvisation - different forms, including Contact. Would be happy to discuss this with anyone interested. The manuscript is currently under review.

TITLE: Effects of Group-Delivered Improvisational Dance on Balance in Adults with Middle Stage Parkinson Disease: A Two-Phase Pilot with fMRI Case Study

Glenna Batson,1,2 Christina Soriano,3 Jonathan H. Burdette,4 Sara Migliarese,2 Paul J. Laurienti,4 and Nickolai Hristov5
1Wake Forest University Translational Science Center, Winston-Salem, N.C.
2 Department of Physical Therapy, Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, N.C.,
3 Department of Theatre and Dance, Wake Forest University
4 Laboratory for Complex Brain Networks, Department of Radiology, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC
5 Center for Design Innovation, Winston-Salem, N.C.

ABSTRACT - not for distribution or publication People with Parkinson disease experience motor problems that place them at risk for falls. Research on visually cued rhythmic dance has shown select functional gains in balance. What remains uninvestigated is the effect dance improvisation has on the ability to self-generate strategies needed for complex balance tasks. This two-phase pilot first examined the effects of group-delivered improvisational dance on balance. Subsequently, changes on whole-brain functional network connectivity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were examined in a neuroplasticity case study. In Phase I seven community-dwelling adults (mean age 69) with middle stage Parkinson disease completed a 7-week improvisation series. Group pretest-posttest balance comparisons were significant on the Fullerton Advanced Balance Scale (p=.017) with a total group average increase of five points. In Phase II (3 months later), one participant from the pilot group underwent brain scanning following a 5-day intensive trial of the same dance protocol. Following the intervention week, the posttest fMRI scans exhibited significantly increased network connectivity between the basal ganglia and premotor cortices. For this group, dance improvisation resulted in significant gains in balance. For one participant, positive neuroplastic changes in brain connectivity were recorded in the strength of network connectivity between the basal ganglia and cortical motor centers.
Key Words: Parkinson’s, dance, balance, fMRI, global efficiency
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meta-academy@Bates 2013 presents:


an online lab exploring embodiment and co-creation on the internet using Nancy Stark Smith’s Underscore and other moving ideas.

Facilitated by Marlon Barrios Solano and Rachel Boggia


                  Photo by Raisa Kyllikki Karjalainen 

How can embodied knowledge be shared and deepened through the internet?  What unique forms of collaborative learning and creative activity might the internet offer?

MINDED MOTION, a 3 week pilot program for, is a collaborative co-learning lab that will address these questions. Lab participants will use free internet-based tools to creatively explore questions about embodiment, training and memory, composition, and politics of the body. They will also explore how to translate embodied practices onto the internet. The lab will be structured around Nancy Stark Smith’s Underscore, an approach improvisational dance/movement that she has been developing for over 30 years, which she will be teaching at Bates Dance Festival July 22-August 10 2013.


Screenshot from video interview An Emergent Undersore on

Lab Details:

  • The lab activities include: embodied activities, guest lectures, small creative projects using online tools to explore a pool of written and video resources, threaded discussions, and online synchronous video encounters (video chats).
  • The time commitment is 4-8 hours per week for 3 weeks spanning July 22-August 10 2013.
  • The lab is offered FREE of charge and uses free internet-based tools aggregated through google+.
  • The lab is open to all interested dance, movement and multimedia artists, teachers, scholars researchers, journalists, writers and more.
  • Benefits of participation include: increased understanding of on-line collaboration, increased literacy in internet-based creative tools, exposure to core principles of Nancy Stark Smith’s teaching, membership in a strong intellectual and creative community, and much more.
  • The language of facilitation and presentation is English.
  • If interested in participating, contact by July 18, 2013.

How it works:

  • EMBODIED ACTIVITY Each week, on-line participants focus on something that Nancy is teaching in her course at the Bates Dance Festival. For example, Nancy Stark Smith or the lab facilitators might share a score for solo movement or a compositional exercise through video or text directions. Lab participants will try the exercise at the beginning of each week.
  • ONLINE CREATIVITY Each week, the lab facilitators will suggest online creative activities for the lab participants related to the embodied activity. These might include: blogging, micro-blogging, video mashups, screendances, online editing, collaborative writing and editing, collaborative curation of images and videos, playlist essays, mind and conceptual mapping, collaborative word cloud. All participants will be credited as collaborators.All material produced in this lab is available for remixing and mashup and it is delivered with a Creative Commons Licenses.
  • GUEST LECTURES/LIVE CHAT Each week, lab participants will meet in a Google+ hangout to hear a short lecture by a guest expert on a topic such as body politics/theory, composition, or training. All lab participants, Nancy Stark Smith, and the expert will then discuss the topicand debrief about the week’s activities. Guest lectures are listed below. Hangout times will be announced soon. The video from this encounter will be archived and made available and become part of the creative assets of the projects.
  • RESOURCE POOL Supplemental resources such as readings, images, and videos will be made 
  • available to– and editable by– participants.
  • ONLINE FORUM A forum moderated by Dr. Hannah Kosstrin will allow lab participants to discuss concepts, activities and resources.
  • SUPPORT Lab facilitators will be available every day for conceptual and technical assistance.

Word cloud of the text of this page created with

Roles and participation:

Everyone in the lab is considered a co-creator and is valued as an artist and designer of the shared experience. Therefore, we propose the following structure, but are open to shifts and feedback.

Lab co-facilitators suggesting structure for lab experience, available for consultation:

Core expert providing core content and consult on structure:

Guest experts providing specific content through lectures and discussions in Google Hangouts:

Lab participants: participating in Lab activities, produce creative projects, consulting on structure:

  • You!

meta-academy@Bates 2013 is the first pilot of the project conceived by Marlon Barrios Solano with the partial yet crucial  support of:

All material produced in this lab is available for remixing and mashup and it is delivered with a a Creative Common License.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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A dance doccie by dance filmmaker Jeannette Ginslov (Teaser)

"Birgitte Skands: At rejse er at leve er at danse..." * (2013)


Original film 52'00.
*trans. "To travel is to live... to live is to dance..."

A documentary with
Birgitte Skands

With gratitude and respect I wish to thank
all my mentors and teachers who have
inspired me in my life and dance expression
in Denmark New York City, Salvador Bahia, Brazil
and Senegal

A la Hongroise: Kim Sjøgren

Live recordings with Musicians of Bougarabou Ballet
Sali Senegal

Traditional Berimbau Music

Jeannette Ginslov

Jeannette Ginslov

Camera, Edit, Fx & Sound
Jeannette Ginslov

Hellerup Beach

Video produced by
Walking Gusto Productions
© 2013

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7th-8th July from 18h00 until 20h00

at Theater Bellevue

The interactive Installation PARADISO senses+spaces will be presented at the international Dance festival Julidans.

PARADISO is a series of two interactive dance films. Its two levels, "senses" and "spaces," address sensory awareness and kinesthetic learning. Dancer and choreographer Bertha Bermudez (Amsterdam), her filmmaker Maite Bermudez (Barcelona) and media artist and director Chris  Ziegler expand cinematic experience into physicality and deliver an artistic review on the present hype surrounding 3D cinema. The film was shot in the eternal ice of the Arctic and Antarctic, in the deserts of Africa and in other inhospitable parts of the world.


In the first level of PARADISO - "senses" - the viewer is "touched" by the dancer’s movement. Force feedback sensors with electroactive polymers and a custom-built 4D chair give tactile feedback on the skin of the viewer. Image, sound, wind and evaporated perfumes activate almost all the senses: sight, hearing, touch and smell.


PARADISO’s second level - "spaces" - connects the viewer’s kinesphere to  the camera of the film. Watching the dancer’s movements in the film leads the viewer into the movement of the camera’s viewing angle. In an expansion of Vertov's mental montage in early 20th century filmmaking, the viewer of PARADISO generates an interactive physical montage.

PARADISO is the last phase of the film project film trilogy IMAGINED DANTE by Las Negras Productions, Imagined Hell, Imagined Purgatory and Imagined Paradiso.  This project is inspired by choreographers Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten and their Dante's trilogy, Inferno, Purgatorio and you Para | Diso.

With support from The Amsterdam International Choreographic Arts Center ICK/Emio Greco | PC (NL) and Flying Elephant Foundation - Gregory Colbert (USA/FR), city council of Munich, Muffathalle Munich and Center for Art and Media ZKM Karlsruhe.

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Proposal Deadline: 1st October 2013

The ArtEZ Master of Choreography celebrates its 10 years with the publicationInventing Futures, which we see as one ‘object’ of artistic research. Artists, current and former students, and theorists reflect on themes and notions that have emerged in the program as particularly challenging and productive, namely latency, constraint, collaboration, failure and trust. These are suggested as prisms through which one could think, imagine and invent future(s), in particular for choreography and institutional practice-as-research.

Together with the launching of the book a gathering is organized, which is an initiative of the ArtEZ Master of Choreography and Bertha Bermudez / ICKamsterdam, with the support of the ArtEZ Professorship Theory in Art. The aim is to extend the discussion on artistic research to the inter/national field.

On 2nd December a Roundtable Discussion with guests from Holland and abroad will take place, addressing and problematizing Artistic Research. The launching of the book and a reception in the evening will follow the discussion. Precise times to be announced later.

On 3rd December working sessions and seminars proposed and led by artists and theorists will take place.

Theme and Context:

Compared to the late 80s and early 2000s it has become harder to foster institutional experimentation and change from within. The production of measureable, ‘understandable’ and profitable products have, under the guise of the discourse of innovation, to a large extent become sine qua non conditions for validation and funding in the arts and the humanities. These conditions, one could argue, are not exactly favorable for artistic research, in particular when this is thought of as the production or invention of ‘problems’ (Cvejić, 2013) and not as avenues leading towards solutions that follow current fashion or pre- determined guidelines for their mainstream acceptance and transferability.

A plethora of artistic research educational programmes and centres have emerged in the last few years. And yet, the function and value of artistic research remain too vague, as it is understood and used for different and often contradictory purposes per institution (educational/academic, economic, stylistic, market-oriented etc.). One could thus arguably claim that artistic research is becoming more detached from the artists and their artistic processes/methodologies and more attached to institutional needs and requirements.

Against this background, Inventing Futures proposes a gathering in which artists and theorists from within and outside of institutions can expose, discuss and experiment with their understandings and doings of artistic research. (How) can educational institutions be with and within artistic research? How can artistic research be (re)invented?

More info and application online

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