LETTER: Bridging the arts-sciences gap

Re: “Emily Coates: dance scholar, arts advocate, physics professor” (Sept. 2): I am grateful to the News for bringing the new course, “The Physics of Dance,” to the attention of the Yale community. What your readers also need to know is that Yale has beaten every other Ivy in launching a curricular collaboration between a Department of Physics and a Theater/Dance Program with a focus on research. We’ve set out to synthesize seemingly opposed ways of knowing — from mathematical modeling to choreographic practices that organize and represent the world around us.

My co-instructor, Sarah Demers, is a particle physicist whose work has been recognized by the Department of Energy and engages with the Large Hadron Collider. She sees the world in terms of high-speed particles; I see it in terms of meaningful movement. Our teaching collaboration represents one small bridge between the cultures of science and art. We were thrilled to see so many students in the room the first day, clearly energized about embarking on this wild interdisciplinary ride with us. We’re sure the discussion provoked by this course will continue at Yale and beyond. Thanks to all undergrad pioneers who have signed on with us.

Emily Coates

Sept. 6

The writer is a lecturer in the Theater Studies Department.