Dance your PhD thesis. Dorky dance nerds rejoice!


Apparently there’s a national competition amongst graduating PhD types to explain their thesis via interpretive dance. This is the third year of the competition. Why did no one mention this to me before?

Perhaps people are unaware that I was a modern dance enthusiast all through college? It’s really the common interest my wife and I shared when were dating. I moved into choreography and put together some truly awful pieces before I managed to graduate.

If only I had known this was an option. I would have so done this.

Selection of a DNA aptamer for homocysteine using SELEX from Maureen McKeague on Vimeo.

Make sure to keep watching so you don’t miss the ominous entrance of the Urea molecule about half way through the dance sequence.

And of course the joyful finale dance with the dancers in many mismatched shoes. Dancing in many mismatched styles. Heh! That’s my favorite part.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. Steve LInhart says

    Oh my gosh Maureen and her friends did excellent work.
    I don’t understand the science of it, but this video needs to go VIRAL.

  2. Posted for Mary Hileman by request. (She’s having trouble posting. Let me know if you are too. N.)

    Maureen and her friends did a wonderful job depicting DNA interactions. I believe I understood her main points – very effective!
    I wonder, however, whether interpretive dance will catch on and become part of a standard Ph.D. defense in the sciences? For example, I am intrigued by how interpretive dance might be used in a Geology dissertation defense. Oh my, I’m starting to consider possibilities for music and choreography to depict Pennsylvanian depositional sequence stratigraphy.
    I believe the challenge Maureen poses to those of us in the wider scientific community (nerds all) is to find new ways to effectively communicate our technical and seemingly esoteric concepts to a wider audience – as she has done.

  3. Matt Marino says

    I need to figure out how I can do interpretive dance rather than all those pesky papers and bibliographies in seminary classes. I might still have to stay up until 2am, but my mid-section would surely look better when I was through.

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