Ocean Trilogy is a new 45-minute, multidisciplinary performance based on a dance-science partnership between Fran Spector Atkins choreographer, William Roden media artist, and Kyra Schlining research scientist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. This partnership investigates ways that dance can heighten awareness, promote conversation and contribute toward inspiring the next generation of ocean stewards.

Ocean Trilogy looks at the challenges confronting the health of our ocean, hopeful possibilities from ocean science research, and the role of scientific information in policy decisions.  Linked by the brilliant rap poetry of Baba Brinkman, Ocean Trilogy weaves together a tapestry of underwater film footage, sound bites from interviews with MBARI scientists, contemporary and rap music, and a variety of dance styles. The contrast of elements creates an exciting composite that communicates science in a way that is fresh, informative, and uplifting.  

Because we live on the Monterey Bay, the sounds, smells, and rhythms of the ocean permeate our conscious and unconscious daily experience. We are profoundly connected to the magnificence of the coastal environment. Although the ocean is a major reason why people want to live or visit Monterey County, most people not aware of the degree to which our ocean is threatened. Most are also not aware of the outstanding science that is conducted at MBARI, right here in our community. Dance is not often considered as a way to impart scientific information. Yet, our team believes that by joining the facts of science with the aesthetic of dance, we can reach audiences in a new way.

For the dancer, words that describe science evoke images and these images kindle a movement response. Although dance tends to invite a variety of interpretations and science tends toward the measurable and repeatable, both dance and science converge around the manifestation of the imagination. The science-dance relationship can shift back and forth among all elements, to enhance each other, making the sum greater than the parts. This is an innovative pathway for both disciplines to engage audiences.

Ocean Trilogy is particularly timely. As a nation, we generally accept that science gives us knowledge which informs our personal and political actions. The issues around ocean health and its relationship to climate change are politically charged, causing a deep national divide. However, differing perspectives can converge around a shared dependence on a healthy ocean, which ultimately impacts people of every race, class, and age in every corner of the planet.

Ocean Trilogy puts dance at the center of this critical conversation and boldly demonstrates the power of converging disciplines as a metaphor for an ideal world where unexpected partnerships offer creative solutions to our most pressing challenges. Our works aim to  play a role in bringing issues to the forefront, shifting perceptions and attitudes, and inspiring positive action.

We believe that dance makes a difference!