Highlight: Artophagy

Press Release:

Dan Klionsky contributes to U-M dance performance "How Autophagy Works"

Ann Arbor Dance Works, in collaboration with the University of  Michigan Museum of Natural History, presents “WITHIN/BEYOND,” an evening of dances inspired by frontiers in scientific research.

From the furthest reaches of space to the inner workings of a single cell, four choreographers find inspiration in cutting edge scientific research taking place at the University of Michigan and beyond. The performances took place on June 8-9 in the U-M Museum of Natural History, a 1928 architectural gem designed by Albert Kahn.

With “How Autophagy Works,” Thurnau Professor of Dance Peter Sparling offers a dancer’s guide to cell biology that is both spoof and serious interdisciplinary research. Assisted by Dr. Dan Klionsky, U-M Ruthven Professor of Life Sciences, medical illustrator Dave Woodsell and composer Wendy Lee, Sparling and dancers provide movement models or dioramas for the museum’s rotunda in the form of animated video projections, danced episodes and psychodramas freely interpreting the ongoing cellular process of autophagy, or “self-eating,” the body’s method of cleansing, recycling and defending against disease.

A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and Juilliard School, Sparling was a member of the JoséLimón Dance Company and principal dancer with Martha Graham Dance Company. Sparling has had extensive experience  as artistic director, (Peter Sparling Dance Company), choreographer, performer, teacher  lecturer, video artist, collaborator, administrator and dance/arts consultant. His dances for video have been selected for numerous international dance on camera festivals.

- Excerpted from "Dancin' to science" by Jessica Fogel. To read the article, including more about the rest of the performances in "WITHIN/BEYOND," click here.

Below, Klionsky explains autophagy to a dance class rehearsing a performance interpreting the cellular process of "self-eating."