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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Art, science, children will contribute to Mars tribute”

    The UA will host an art- and science-filled tribute to the Phoenix Mars Lander mission tomorrow.

    “”MARS and Other Stories!”” will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevie Eller Dance Theater. Attendance is free.

    Hosted by the College of Fine Arts and the School of Architecture, the event will feature performances themed around the countdown to the Lander’s arrival on Mars, as well as anticipation over the arrival.

    One dance, “”The 12th Root of 2,”” was inspired by fantasies of what discovering polar ice caps on Mars might mean for life in the universe.

    The event will showcase performances by the UA Dance Ensemble and the UA Symphony Orchestra.

    Their main piece, “”Countdown,”” was choreographed by Beth Weinstein, an assistant professor of architecture, and dance professor Douglas Nielsen.

    Nielsen called his inspiration for creating the dance “”the fact that the university is the base for this amazing thing – the entire world will be watching, on May 25, the landing.

    “”It just gave me an awareness of astronomy. And it is something much bigger than us,”” he said. “”I think dance is a way of communicating a setting. I don’t make dances about something, I make dance of things that I’m inspired by.””

    “”Countdown”” was also a metaphor for anticipation, he said. The dance will have a backdrop that counts down from 14 minutes, the length of the performance.

    Other events include an introduction by Phoenix investigators Peter Smith and Bill Boynton.

    “”We go back and forth between artistic presentation and scientific presentation,”” said Jory Hancock, director of the School of Dance. “”It’s a marriage of art and science.””

    Hancock said he feels the thought processes of scientists and artists are more similar than different.

    “”To be a leading scientist, you have to be able to think outside the box,”” he said. “”If you think of any scientist who broke new ground, it’s because they have a vivid imagination.””

    The goal of the event is to involve the Tucson community, not just the UA, he said.

    Younger students involved in the Stories that Soar program and the UA’s GEAR UP Project contributed not only essays on space travel but also songs that share the event’s themes.

    “”We want this to be cross-generational,”” Hancock said.

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