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October 20, 2009:

Norah Zuniga Shaw wants us to understand the concept of “counterpoint”—things that don’t seem to have structure really do under the surface. In her “Synchronous Objects” choreographic visualization project (“If you don’t know what that means, that’s OK. We sort of made it up.”), she and her colleagues worked with William Forsythe to deconstruct once of his dances—One Flat Thing, reproduced—to see what physical thinking might look like displayed visually. His dance incorporates a high degree of difference, with the “dancers constructing a cacophonous structure.”

So how does this relate to everyday life? According to Zuniga Shaw, the concepts learned from her project can help us learn many good ways to work in groups. She highlighted the differences between a marching band and counterpoint. When you look at a marching band, you see unity and uniformity, with each member marching in step with the others. There is diversity in a marching band, but it is under the surface—the different instruments played, the different parts of the same song played by different sections. Counterpoint is the inverse, where the primary visual effect is different. Relationships exists, but at a deep, structural layer.

Through her project, we see how something artistic, like a dance, can demonstrate concretely the fact that there are various ways to move together as people through this world.