Cellular Dance

a multimedia ballet animating the motions of living cells through science, poetry, music, and dance


Originally presented by Music of Reality, now an ongoing Multiverse project

Cellular Dance is part of Multiverse’s mission to bring artists, scientists and musicians together in collaborative projects that shed light on the world from fundamentally new perspectives. We believe that the best creative teams incorporate all of the aspects of STEAM (adding Arts to the familiar acronym) and that working together, we can share our insights with the widest possible audience.

Our scientific partner for the project is Professor Alexey Veraska of UMass Boston, whose research into the signaling processes of gastrulation in Drosophila is crucial for understanding diseases such as spina bifida, and sheds light on the fascinating world of cells and their concerted, dance-like motions.

Time-lapse footage of a Drosophila (fruit fly) embryo. Footage by by Tomer et al 2012, music by David Ibbett, violin performed by Sarah Ibbett.

“It is not birth, marriage, or death, but gastrulation which is truly the most important time in your life”

— Lewis Wolpert

Project Timeline

The project’s central mission is to inspire a wide range of audiences in different settings:

1. Premiere performance at UMass Boston, April 23rd 2019, in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences. This event marked the launch of the project: juxtaposing the ballet performance with scientific lectures on Dr. Veraksa’s research.

 2. Performances in science settings. We are now adapting the work to fit into a variety of university and science conference settings in partnership with a wider community of cell biologists. The project is highly portable – the length, number of dancers, scale of projection and electronic sound are scalable to fit most environments.

3. Educational performances. Community performances and interactive workshops will introduce young and aspiring scientists to the worlds of music, dance, poetry and cell biology alike.

The Team

The Premiere

Watch the live lectures and full ballet from the premiere at UMass Boston: