Health & Fitness

Cardiac arrest, we dance to thee

DanceEntertainmentEducationScienceColleges and UniversitiesUniversity of Cincinnati

Melding art and medicine is getting more and more common: These days, you can buy all kinds of medical tchotchkes — earrings in the shape of brain molecules, boxer shorts decorated with images of bacteria (even gonorrhea bacteria, which doesn't seem to send an especially desirable message). And what biomedical department these days doesn't have some artsy rendition of DNA, the helix of life, gracing its foyer? The trend is now moving toward dance, it appears. We've been notified of two biomedical dances in the last few weeks alone.

One of them, "The Cardiac Dance — the Spirals of Life," was inspired by an L.A. cardiac surgeon, Dr. Gerry Buckberg. It's going to be performed this Friday, May 25, at the University of Cincinnati, according to press materials, and will "demonstrate the motions of a heart that has been damaged from a heart attack and the healing process" as well as "bring the form and function of the heart to life onstage."

A month earlier, in Washington, D.C., hordes of scientists were invited to watch a dance called "Ferocious Beauty: Genome" as part of the honoring of National DNA Day. (Which was, of course, April 25.) It was developed "through collaborations with thirty-four genetic scientists and researchers from leading universities and government agencies across the country" and "offers an insightful perspective on a complex and controversial subject," says blurb from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. The dance "investigates the startling realities of how knowledge of the genome will change the way we think about aging, perfection, ancestry, and evolution."

There are many more medical themes to explore, of course. We took a quick poll of the office to see what choreographers might tackle next. "Psoriasis and gingivitis," offered one. "Or male pattern baldness?"

"Face transplants," suggested another.

When we hear of them, we'll tell you.

— Rosie Mestel

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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