The Comedy of Change will return to Sadler's Wells, London, from 22 - 26 Octber 2013
The Comedy of Change combines the worlds of evolutionary science and dance in a collaboration between choreographer Mark Baldwin, composer Julian Anderson, and scientists, including Professor Nicky Clayton, Professor of Comparative Cognition, Clare College, Cambridge.
The Comedy of Change is in honour of the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth and celebrates the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species.
Professor Clayton distilled three themes from Darwin’s theories which Mark Baldwin used in his choreography. The choreography was inspired by the science, but it did not set out to literally represent the ideas.
SAME / DIFFERENT
This is how similarities become differences and how individuals within a species have common features, but there must be differences to produce variation. The slight differences could determine whether that individual will survive.
The example in dance: a line of four dancers move in unison, slowly breaking up as two couples pair off, followed by short solos that emphasize the individual dancers.
Evolutionary change is a dynamic process, dependent upon time. Examples of evolution in nature often take hundreds or thousands of years to be recognised. However, some key examples have been noted over a much shorter time frame – for instance the ‘peppered moth’ has been subject to natural selection in response to a changing environment caused by the Industrial Revolution. But the future also plays a part in the present: some birds spend many years perfecting the dancing skills with which they eventually attract a mate, an example of sexual selection.
The example in music: composer Julian Anderson introduces themes which recur or are reintroduced in a slightly different way.
The example in dance: one of the dancers is wrapped in silver foil, which is then lifted away leaving a cast or ghost, or fossil.
This is the nature of camoflage, how the natural world can conceal and yet reveal. Viewed from one angle individuals are camouflaged yet suddenly, because of the dynamics of change, they are revealed.
The example in dance: the dancers appear then disappear into the background rather like the way animals have to leave the safety of their camouflage to find food or a mate.
Other scientists advising were Dr Phil Smith,Teacher Science Network and
J. Steven Jones, University College, London.
At each venue throughout the tour was the opportunity to hear a scientist talk about the science behind the production.