2019 Festival: Creating and Rehearsing “Dance of the Diagram” | National Math Festival

2019 Festival: Creating and Rehearsing “Dance of the Diagram”

BARKIN/SELISSEN PROJECT presents Dance of the Diagram at the National Math Festival on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 2:00 pm. Seats are first-come, first-served. You can register for this free performance on Eventbrite to let us know you are coming, and to receive reminders about the performance. Learn more in this blog post by Kyla Barkin.


Poster for Dance of the Diagram

Dance of the Diagram is quite different from our other pieces, in that it is based on a diagram and a mathematical theory.

Typically, our work at B/S P is visceral and emotionally driven. Our interpretation needed to appeal to a broad-based audience while staying true to the rules of the theory.  Before we started choreographing, we observed a teacher’s lesson using the diagram. During this process, elements and terms from the theory became much more than definitions.

The diagram, and commutative groups on its points, came to possess characteristics; and the resulting “characters” interacted with each other in very specific ways. These characters had relationships and, all of a sudden, an entire world emerged. We decided to explore this direction and found it rather exciting to try attaching human qualities to mathematical abstractions.  Since we were so intrigued by this new world that was described to us, we took the imagery into the studio and began to create movement that brought the theory to life in a dance.


We injected what we believe to be a captivating yet abstract story based on the characteristics and mapping of the hexagonal diagram described to us by Jim Simons in reference to the theory itself. There was much talk of journeys in his description. This theme resonated with us and ultimately, we would like the performers and the audience to feel as though they have gone on a journey when they walk away from this performance.

Learn more in Part 2: How a Dance Gets Built!

BSP Rehearse photo 5
BSP Rehearse photo 2
BSP Rehearse photo 3
BSP Rehearse photo 6

Photos by Devin Ball

Kyla Barkin is co-founder and choreographer of the BARKIN/SELISSEN PROJECT.