<strong>Vangeline Theater/ New York Butoh Institute announces free public showing of <em>The Slowest Wave/Butoh and The Brain</em></strong>

Vangeline Theater/ New York Butoh Institute announces free public showing of The Slowest Wave/Butoh and The Brain

Vangeline Theater/ New York Butoh Institute announces a free public showing of The Slowest Wave/Butoh and The Brain, the culmination of an art-science performance-research study, on February 10, 2023 at 6pm at University of Houston, Student Center South Theater, 4455 University Dr #103/203, Houston, TX.

This showing is being offered as part of a new study investigating the brain dynamics of dancers while they are performing Butoh, a postmodern dance style that originated in Japan, through the use of electroencephalography (EEG) to record the participants’ brain waves. The study is a collaboration between the New York-based Vangeline Theater dance company, the Laboratory for Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems, IUCRC BRAIN Center, The Rockefeller University, and the Neurobiology of Social Communication Lab (funded by the City University of New York, Rockefeller University and New York University).

In collaboration with neuroscientists Sadye Paez and Constantina Theofanopoulou, neuroengineer Jose ‘Pepe’ Contreras-Vidal, and composer Ray Sweeten, Vangeline choreographed a 60-minute ensemble Butoh piece, which is uniquely informed by the protocol established for a scientific pilot study researching the impact of Butoh on brain activity during Butoh dancing. For the groundbreaking art-science study, dancers’ brain activity will be recorded at the University of Houston, Texas, with real-time visualization of the dancers’ neural activity. Results will then be disseminated in scientific journals.

Vangeline and Sweeten have built on a 20-year history of creative collaboration with a soundscape that is informed by techniques of brainwave entrainment (techniques that affect consciousness through sound). The Slowest Wave investigates through the use of scalp EEG how brain waves during Butoh dancing compare to those emitted during other conscious or unconscious motor behaviors, such as speaking or meditating. Moreover, the study will elucidate the functional neural networks of the dancers and the neural synchrony within and between them. This project is meant to foster connections and understanding between dancers, artists, scientists, engineers, and audiences from around the world.

Vangeline is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer specializing in Japanese Butoh. She is the artistic director of the Vangeline Theater/New York Butoh Institute (New York), a dance company firmly rooted in the tradition of Japanese butoh while carrying it into the twenty-first century www.vangeline.com

Sadye Paez is a Visiting Scholar at the New York University’s Center for Ballet and the Arts and a Senior Research Associate in the Neurogenetics of Language Laboratory (Erich D. Jarvis) at The Rockefeller University, studying the neurobiology and genetic basis of why humans dance. Sadye’s early training as a physiotherapist and biomechanist laid the underpinnings for her current work in understanding the evolution of dance. Sadye is also a competitive Latin dancer.

Constantina Theofanopoulou is an Associate Research Professor at Hunter College, City University of New York, a Visiting Associate Professor at Rockefeller University and a Visiting Scholar at New York University. She is interested in understanding the neurobiology of social communication, in complex human behaviors, such as speech and dance. Constantina is a flamenco dancer, having performed in many solo and group shows worldwide; in 2012, she was awarded with the first prize of the Spanish Dance Society.

Jose ‘Pepe’ Contreras-Vidal, PhD (Fellow IEEE, Fellow AIMBE) is Cullen Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the NSF Research Center for Building Reliable Advances and Innovations in Neurotechnology (IUCRC BRAIN) at the University of Houston. His work at the nexus of art and science is opening new windows to study the neural basis of human creativity in children and adults while informing neuroaesthetics, neural interfaces, and the power of the arts (dance, music, visual art) as a modulator of brain activity. Dr. Contreras-Vidal has collaborated with many performing and visual artists to investigate the neural basis of creativity. Most recently, he collaborated with Tony Brandt, a Professor of Composition and Theory at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and Artistic Director of the new music ensemble Musiqa, and Noble Motion Dance Company on “LiveWire,” a new ballet in which each section was inspired by a different feature of brain behavior. 

For more information and to RSVP to The Slowest Wave, visit https://butohandthebrain.eventbrite.com 

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