Lecture Series:

Calculated Movements

with Karl Schaffer

Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 6PM - 8PM


VENUE: Carriage House Theatre

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About our lecturer, Karl Schaffer:

Professional dancer and choreographer Karl Schaffer holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has taught mathematics at De Anza College since 1989. He has co-directed the Santa Cruz-based dance company Dr. Schaffer and Mr. Stern Dance Ensemble for 30 years. Operating under the auspices of MoveSpeakSpin, the company has performed its entertaining and highly physical works internationally, with special focus on dances integrating mathematics and movement. Schaffer and co-director Stern are on the Kennedy Center’s Teaching Artist Roster, and travel frequently sharing their math and dance integration methods in the classroom. Schaffer’s recent concerts include The Daughters of Hypatia, on women mathematicians, appearing at Montalvo on Mar. 16; Mosaic, on issues of culture, conflict, peace and justice in Palestine and Israel; and Choreocopia, a festival of food, song and dance. Schaffer writes frequently on mathematics and dance, and his writing appeared in The Best Writing on Mathematics 2012.

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In this fascinating presentation, choreographer and mathematician Karl Schaffer, Ph.D. will demonstrate the surprising connections between mathematics and dance, and illuminate the larger questions of how the artistic mind fuels the analytical mind and vice-versa. Joined by four dancers performing his mathematical choreography, Schaffer will highlight these ideas with engaging visuals, multimedia, and playful audience interactions. 

He will elucidate the extent to which math and dance share surprisingly similar concerns: shape and geometry, pattern and symmetry, counting and estimation, design and structure, coherence and logic, change in time and space, and perhaps most importantly, a reverence for elegant solutions. He will also focus on the ways these seemingly divergent disciplines may inspire each other and even address relevant, current topics. For example, he will show how mathematical concepts can be used as storytelling metaphors to explore new narratives around socio-political issues such as those inherent in the history of both math and dance, and the interactions between them. 

 You will come away with a completely different understanding of the relationship between art and academics, and begin to realize that no matter what your natural inclination—whether painting, dance, poetry, politics, physics, or design—the creative process is the fundamental fuel that drives human achievement across disciplines.