High flyers bring fantastical new science show to Oxfordshire

Lauren Hussein, Dawns Powys Dance project manager for spectacular science show Flying Atoms, talks to Science Oxford about engaging young people through dance and science, the inspiration behind the new show coming to the Amey Theatre this September, and why you should come and see it.

Flying Atoms enables young minds to access basic principles of physics through an exciting mix of aerial dance, acro-balance and theatre. Children and their families are invited into the Laboratory of Curiosity to explore and experiment with big ideas. We believe that science is everywhere. The show includes both small experiments you can do at home to understand matter and big demonstrations giving insight into the universe!Huss

During our last tour, one child told us the show helped her to see that “we live in a wonderland”. A teacher said it inspired “looks of awe and wonder” among her students. These and many other responses like this encouraged us to continue our tour into 2017. Science Oxford was one of the first organisations to partner with us to make this possible. Since then we have grown the tour to six dates around the UK and a seven-performance run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The initial concept for the show was to find a way to engage girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths). We wanted to make physics in particular appealing and exciting for all students with a specific focus on female students who often fail to engage with these subjects as their school careers progress; leading to a lack of female representation in STEM careers. Using aerial dance and theatre proved an effective way of generating interest and also inspiring a connection with the subject. Our female ‘professor’ characters project the correct image; knowledgeable yet relatable and fun!

The overlaps between the art form and the science content might seem difficult to imagine but the two have become close partners in making Flying Atoms something really special. Tricks on the aerial rig, experiments, voiceover, dance and animation all communicate science learning in different ways; enabling many different types of learners to engage and reinforcing learning throughout. In fact, 89% of children who saw the show could identify a specific learning outcome. “As with all good learning, there were so many opportunities for young minds to experience the message at levels best suited to the individuals concerned” (Feedback from a Head Teacher).

However, if you think Flying Atoms is all work and no play, you’d be wrong! Aliens crash; dancers climb ropes, swing from hoops and “dance on air”; there’s a trip to the circus, a journey inside a microscope and experiments you won’t believe. We are so excited to bring Flying Atoms to Science Oxford as part of their really exciting and important work across the region. You can follow the tour on Facebook (Flying Atoms) or twitter (@dawnspowysdance) and please join us on 21st September in Oxfordshire!

Flying Atoms show is at the Amey Theatre, Abingdon School. Book tickets here.

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