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OMSI Science Pub: The Physics of Ballet
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 7:00pm
OMSI Science Pub: The Physics of Ballet

OMSI Science Pub presents
"The Physics of Ballet"

Ballet dancers’ grace and beauty of movement is awe inspiring. They seem to float across the stage as if gravity doesn’t exist for them, but the laws of physics govern ballet dancers’ movements just as much as they determine how the rest of us move throughout our day. Dancers have learned how to use physics concepts such as force, impulse, inertia, and conservation of angular momentum to harness the energy created by their bodies and channel it into artful jumps and turns that wow audiences.

But how do these concepts work? How do the countless hours of practice help dancers use physics to their advantage? How do these forces differ in their effect on regular audience members? At this Science Pub we will have live performances by dancers from Oregon Ballet Theatre, help from physicists from PSU, and audience participation, all of which will help define and demonstrate how the laws of physics can be used to create the art of dance.

Tuesday, October 16th
7:00 p.m.
McMenamins Bagdad Theater & Pub, Portland

Ralf Widenhorn, PhD, is a researcher and professor of physics at Portland State University. His research interests include semiconductor physics and digital sensors as well as physics education and biomedical applications of physics. For this presentation he will lead a group of physics PhD students from Portland State University: Lester LampertWilliam Porterand Justin Dunlap. All three are in the leadership team of the Science Outreach Society (S.O.S.), a non-profit organization run by volunteers, PSU students, and faculty to bring science education to Portland communities and people of all ages.

Anne Mueller, is the artistic coordinator and a former principal dancer for the Oregon Ballet Theatre. During her 15 seasons dancing for the company, she performed in leading roles in works by Julia Adam, George Balanchine, James Canfield, Nicolo Fonte, James Kudelka, Trey McIntyre, Yuri Possokhov, Jerome Robbins, Helgi Tomasson, Twyla Tharp and Christopher Wheeldon. Mueller has also had numerous original roles created for her by OBT Artistic Director Christopher Stowell. Mueller's choreography was selected for Ballet Builders 2009 in New York, NY and appears in the repertoire of Oregon Ballet Theatre, Arova Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Victoria and the Alabama Ballet. She also teaches in the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre.