Science and dance come together in Convergent Pulses, an amazing and pioneering animated short film inspired by the movements of young disabled, and non-disabled dancers, devised in their own homes during the pandemic for IF Oxford.


The project, run by the current science and ideas festival, worked with Oxford-based charity the Parasol Project, Oxford University scientists and world class choreographers to create the ‘Digital Body’ film.

“It’s certainly not the collaboration these groups would have planned, but has produced captivating and unexpectedly moving results”

Their short dance sequences are inspired by conversations with scientists exploring how movement is coordinated within living beings.

Recorded and visualised by the Alexander Whitley Dance Group, the short film is only a few minutes long but provides the perfect example of how art and science work so well together.

The films graphics

And where better to showcase it that the city’s science and ideas festival?

IF Oxford Festival Director Dane Comerford agrees: “We have used motion-capture technology during COVID lockdown to develop this digital dance based on the movements of real people in their own homes.

“It’s certainly not the collaboration these groups would have planned ten months ago, but has produced captivating and unexpectedly moving results.” 

“It has been fantastic to see these concepts inspire the dancers and transformed into such a powerful animation”

“Because of the pandemic, we are all more conscious of the need to understand how our bodies do or don’t work.

Tomoko Watanabe from the Srinivas Group, part of the University of Oxford Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics which took part in the project said: “Researchers work to illuminate the complex interactions that are needed for our bodies to form and function, and how our bodies are influenced by environmental challenges, such as the Coronavirus.

“It has been fantastic to see these concepts inspire the dancers and transformed into such a powerful animation.”

Working with a small group of young people in individual sessions, Parasol Project Coordinators Emma-Jane Greig and Sophie Stanley took inspiration from individual cell movements during early heart formation and the way a heart beat builds a rhythm.

“everyone loves a moonwalk!”

They transformed this into a series of exciting and entrancing dance sequences to reflect the microscopic cellular movements coordinating the beating of an embryonic heart.

Sophie explains: “These described shapes and patterns, from folds and loops to elongations and contractions, are fused together as a series of moments described by each to create the whole.”

“For example, the dancer’s body limbs fold and slide, or flow to make crescent moons, and look out for a moonwalk too, because everyone loves a moonwalk!

“And while the development of these dances took place in unusual socially-distanced circumstances, a haphazard juggling of new and different ways of engaging, interacting and creating movement helped us work together to find ‘that switch’ to synchronize our flows.

Set to a sound track, Futurism by Rival Consoles, the synthesised organic music has a good pulse and a light, upbeat feel drawing on traditional acoustic instruments like the guitar or the piano and is both human and atmospheric. 

To find out more about the film go to:

IF Oxford runs for the whole of October with hundreds of free events. Go to for more details.


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