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The Science & Art of
Movement Festival

Please join us for a week-long festival in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia celebrating the joy of dance! 

June 17th to 21st, 2024

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The Science & Art of Movement Festival is hosted by Dr. Julia Basso and Rachel Rugh, MFA. This inaugural festival is an initiative of the Science & Art of Movement Laboratory, co-directed by Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology research fellows Dr. Julia Basso, Dr. Robin Queen, and Scotty Hardwig, MFA. This collaborative effort centers around scientific and creative projects of embodiment and human movement.

The festival, which will take place from June 17th to 21st will include morning movement sessions, morning dance scholar lectures, and afternoon dance workshops. The first workshop, offered on Monday and Tuesday, will be led by Scotty Hardwig. The second workshop, offered on Wednesday through Friday, will be led by The Architects.


All bodies are welcome and no dance experience is required! If you are interested in movement, or enjoy another type of movement practice (e.g., running, yoga, theater), please join us! To register, please fill out the registration form at the link below.


***Please note, there is no fee for the festival, but you will need to pay for your travel, accommodations, and food. Additionally, though we recommend full participation throughout the week, drop-ins are welcome!*** 


Image from Epiphany Machine, performance on Tuesday, June 18th 7:30 pm


Location: Morning and afternoon dance sessions will be held in the performance hall at The Creativity & Innovation District. Morning lectures will be held at The Sandbox in The Moss Arts Center.  

Creativity & Innovation District: 185 Kent Street, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Moss Arts Center: 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, VA 24061

MONDAY (6/17/24)

   <> 9:15 am - 10:30 am: Contemporary dance offered by Rachel Rugh

   <> 11:00 am - 12:30 pm: Lectures by Drs. Julia Basso, Robin Queen, and Audrey Reeves

   <> 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm: Lunch on own

   <> 2:00 - 5:00 pm: Dance workshop with Scotty Hardwig, Body Landscapes

   <> 6:00 - 8:00 pm: Dinner on own or join us at The Milk Parlor for dinner and Line Dancing with

                                      Barbara Tait, Class from 6:00 to 7:00 pm, Open dance from 7:00 to 8:00 pm

TUESDAY (6/18/24):

   <> 9:15 am - 10:30 am: Flamenco dance offered by Dr. Constantina Theofanopoulou

   <> 11:00 am - 12:30 pm: Keynote scientific lecture by Dr. Madeleine Hackney

   <> 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm: Lunch on own

   <> 2:00 - 5:00 pm: Dance workshop with Scotty Hardwig, Body Landscapes

   <> 5:30 - 7:30 pm: Dinner on own or join us at Maroon Door 

   <> 7:30 pm: Performance of Epiphany Machine with artist talk back

WEDNESDAY (6/19/24):

  <> Juneteenth celebration hosted at Mountain Lake Lodge 

  <> 11:00 am: Gather at Moss Arts Center for shuttle to Mountain Lake Lodge

  <> 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Box lunch provided, open time to explore Mountain Lake Lodge

  <> 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Workshop with The Architects at Mary's Barn  

THURSDAY: (6/20/24):

   <> 9:15 am - 10:30 am: Popping and animation dance offered by Noor Tasnim

   <> 11:00 am - 12:30 pm: Lectures by Drs. Samantha Harden, Constantina Theofanopoulou, & Jennifer Kayle

   <> 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm: Lunch on own

   <> 2:00 - 5:00 pm: Workshop with The Architects, Movement Intensive in Compositional Improvisation

   <> 5:30 - 7:30 pm: Dinner on own or join us at Blacksburg Wine Lab

   <> 7:30 pm: Performance by The Architects with artist talk back

FRIDAY (6/21/24):

   <> 9:15 am - 10:30 am: Yoga with Dr. Samantha Harden

   <> 11:00 am - 12:30 pm: Discussion with all science/artist scholars

   <> 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm: Lunch on own

   <> 2:00 - 5:00 pm: Workshop with The Architects, Movement Intensive in Compositional Improvisation

   <> 6:30 - 9:00 pm: Brazilian Zouk with Opelia Camelot; gather at Blacksburg Dance Theater at

                                      6:30 pm for food and drinks; Class from 7:00 pm to 7:45 pm, Open dance and 

                                      socializing onward!




In this workshop we’ll develop a morphing

physical landscape that folds and shifts over

the course of the practice, weaving through

evolutionary movement patterns organized

to build adaptive mobility, soft-strong joints,

and fluid resilience throughout the body. The

class will cycle through floorwork passes

that tune the flow and warm the core in

whole-body coordinations that emphasize

accumulation, expansion, and spherical

pathways. Each pass across the floor is followed by freehand group drawing and improvisational scores to transition into the next cycle. This work is based on the cuerpo territorio system developed by Mexican dance artist Claudia Lavista, which in turn was inspired in part by the piso móvil (mobile floor) vocabulary developed by Cortocinésis dance company and Colombian dancemaker Vladimir Rodríguez.




This workshop balances in-depth individual

exploration with rigorous practice in

spontaneous ensemble dance-making.

Fresh perceptions and new choices are set

in motion daily through provoking,

open-ended questions. Each kinesthetic-

conceptual proposition acts as an entrance

point for the mover and composer, a window

into authenticity, connection, depth, and

range. Of particular interest here is THE

EMERGING: compositional languages and modes of perceiving and engaging that are in-progress, unfolding, as-yet-unseen. Throughout the workshop, the artistic integrity of one’s voice is sharpened in conversation with the whole and a dialogue emerges as individual aesthetics meet, interact, and expand. As time allows, group discussions contribute to conscious integration of the experiential and the conceptual. Even here, moving into words is an invitation to discover, to uncover diverse perspectives, spark the imagination, and to notice the aesthetic and poetic effect of our compositional choices.​


*For both workshops, participants are advised to wear clothing that is comfortable for floorwork, such as shirts that cover the shoulders and pants that cover the knees*

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Where to stay?

The Inn at Virginia Tech: Experience a rich blend of history and comfort at this hotel in the heart of the Virginia Tech campus. The Inn at Virginia Tech redefines service and provides a wide array of amenities that will make your stay in Blacksburg a memorable one.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Blacksburg - University Area: The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Blacksburg University Area Hotel is centrally located less than a mile from the Virginia Tech Visitors Center and is the best place to stay during your trip to Blacksburg! They continue to be a popular choice for business travelers, sports teams, wedding groups and visitors, because our guests experience a great night's sleep in a spacious suite for the best value in Blacksburg.

Hyatt Place Blacksburg/University: Explore all that Blacksburg and the New River Valley has to offer from the comforts of the pet-friendly Hyatt Place Blacksburg / University hotel. Maintain your fitness routine in our fitness center and indoor pool. Their friendly staff is eager to welcome you to our modern hotel located across the street from Virginia Tech’s campus, and minutes away from Virginia Tech’s research center.

Airbnb options are also available in Blacksburg, VA or Christiansburg, VA. 


Blacksburg, VA offers an eclectic dining scene where you'll find everything from gigantic slices of pizza served up at all hours of the day to funky tacos, delightful tapas, handcrafted drinks, and fresh farm to table. Find out more HERE. Below are some of our favorites:

For coffee and pastries: Halwa Bakery & CafeMill Mountain Coffee and Tea

For casual dining: Bottom of the Stairs; Green's Grill & Sushi Bar 

For fine dining: Blacksburg Wine Lab; 622 North Restaurant and Wine Bar

For yoga and meditation: In Balance Yoga

For some spa time: Allure Spa and Skin Health Boutique; Relax Blacksburg

Catch a film or show: The Lyric Theater; B&B Theatres with Bowling


The Architects is a five-member artist collective born out of collaborations between Katherine Ferrier, Lisa Gonzales, Jennifer Kayle, Pamela Vail, and Kathy Couch dating back to the 1980s. Foundationally, The Architects practice ensemble improvisation, a form of spontaneous dance-making and performance. Each co-created work builds improvised movement and language, embodied sounds and songs (sometimes in collaboration with musicians), and often engages with spontaneous lighting and spatial/object configurations in the creation of a unique event. The collective is also committed to teaching this form through in-person and online workshops and intensives. Our research brings ideas from a wide-range of fields–philosophy, social practice, neuroscience, visual arts, contemplative practices, poetry, restorative justice–into the body as a means of unfolding and understanding ways of being and being together.

Scotty Hardwig, MFA is a movement artist, performer, and teacher originally from southwest Virginia. His research practice is at the confluence of the dancing body and sensory media (environmental and technological), creating movement-based artwork through live performance, installation/site-specific, cinematic and digital frames. He is also an award-winning dance filmmaker, a professor in the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts, and a research fellow at the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology at Virginia Tech.

Dr. Madeleine E. Hackney is a tenured Associate Professor of Medicine in the Emory School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology and a Research Scientist with the Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation at the Atlanta VA and an investigator with the Birmingham/Atlanta VA Geriatric Research Clinical and Education Center. She is also Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitative Medicine, and a full member of the training faculty in the Neuroscience Graduate Program in the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.  She graduated from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and completed pre-medical curriculum at Hunter College, City University of New York.  She received her PhD in Movement Science at Washington University in St. Louis and then completed post-doctoral work at Emory University and the Atlanta VA in geriatric sensorimotor rehabilitation. Prior to matriculating in graduate school, Dr. Hackney had a career as a professional contemporary and ballroom dancer with international performance credits, including serving as a performer for the Department of Defense entertainment tours in Japan and Korea, appearing in the movies, Mona Lisa Smile, and Mad Hot Ballroom, the musical, Evita and The Today Show. Since 2000, she has been certified as an American Council on Exercise (ACE) personal trainer and has several years of experience as an instructor of contemporary and ballroom dance, yoga, Pilates and general fitness classes. Her mentor, the late Kathy Grant, was a direct protégé of J. Pilates. Dr Hackney is known for her research concerning adapted Argentine tango dance, which she designed and refined for targeting the mobility and cognitive impairments of older adults with and without Parkinson’s disease (PD). Since her earlier work, she has expanded the program techniques to other geriatric populations and populations at risk for neurodegenerative disease. She pursued research goals through two VA career development awards (CDA). She has had funding from the NIH, the NEA, PCORI, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Parkinson Foundation, the NSF and other agencies. She is delighted to present here.

Dr. Julia C. Basso is a neuroscientist and dance artist; she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise at Virginia Tech as well as the Director of The Embodied Brain Laboratory. Her work is at the intersection of arts and science and her primary scientific passion centers around elucidating the body-brain connection and harnessing the power of the body to optimize brain function and physiology. Dr. Basso is a Renée Fleming Neuroarts Investigator and her work has been featured in Dance Magazine, Psychology Today, and Virginia Living as well as on National Public Radio and various other podcasts. Artistically, she constructs dance works and other artistic installations that focus on visualization and sonification of the human brain.

Caleb R. Flood, MFA is an artist and musician based in Richmond, VA. His work navigates the remediation of identity and embodiment through sound, sculpture, painting, and performance. Caleb holds a BFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an MFA in Creative Technologies from Virginia Tech. Since 2005, Caleb has regularly performed live music and recorded albums with a smattering of musicians along the east coast, and has maintained a steady output of material as a solo artist. They currently teach video, sound, animation, and performance at VCU.

Dr. Samantha Harden is a behavioral psychologist and 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher. She serves Virginia Cooperative Extension as the Exercise Specialist and is a dissemination and implementation science researcher. She is the Director of the Physical Activity Research and Community Implementation (PARCI) Laboratory within the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech. The vision of the PARCI Lab is to use their talents, expertise, and passion to serve others. Dr. Harden’s lab has served individuals across the lifespan including pregnancy to aging adults. While the lab values individual level impacts, her scientific approach is based on the crucial need to understand context – which includes the systems’ mission, values, and resources. To accomplish this, Dr. Harden’s is an expert in the leading dissemination and implementation framework called RE-AIM. RE-AIM values the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, maintenance of an intervention approach, and this philosophy is the foundation for her research-practice partnerships that promote healthy lifestyle interventions across various populations for chronic disease prevention and management at the individual- and systems-levels. She has contributed to projects resulting in $29 million in research funding and produced over 110 peer reviewed journal articles.

Dr. Robin Queen joined Virginia Tech to helm the Kevin P. Granata Biomechanics Laboratory in 2015 after 11 years as the director of the Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Laboratory at Duke University. Dr. Queen is a professor in biomedical engineering and mechanics as well as Orthopaedic Surgery and in 2023 was named the L. Preston Wade Professor of Engineering. Dr. Queen’s interests are in whole body mechanics with an emphasis on loading symmetry and functional outcomes and rehabilitation following surgical interventions. Dr. Queen has published more than 150 peer reviewed manuscripts, maintains an externally funded research program, serves as a standing member of the Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Sciences [MRS] study section at the NIH and is a Fellow in four professional societies (ACSM, ASB, ICORS, AIMBE). Dr. Queen was awarded the Kappa Delta Young Investigator Award (2017) for her work in ankle arthritis, the ORS Adele L. Boskey, PhD Award in 2020 and the and the Pytel Award from the American Society of Biomechanics in 2023 in recognition of her outstanding and sustained commitment to mentorship and demonstrated track-record of impactful research. Dr. Queen is active in 5 professional societies (AAOS, ORS, ACSM, ASB, BMES) where she has served in multiple leadership roles. In addition to her research, Dr. Queen is passionate about the advancement of women in leadership, efforts to diversify the academy and improve institutional climate and culture and she serves at both Virginia Tech and in national organizations as a leader in these areas.

Dr. Audrey Reeves is an assistant professor in political science. A core faculty for the transdisciplinary doctoral program ASPECT, her research connects world politics, feminist thought, and the performing arts. She is finishing a book on the politics of embodied movement at museums and memorials curating wars of the twentieth and twenty-first century. She researches and teaches on global conflict and war, the politics of arts and culture, and research design and ethics. A classically trained dancer, she loves to collaborate on performing arts projects exploring the politics of memory, gender,  migration and other social themes.

Rachel Rugh, MFA is a dancer, teacher, mover and shaker based in Blacksburg, Virginia.  As a performer, she has collaborated with the DC-based Dance Exchange, as well as Seattle choreographers Pat Graney, Amy O’Neil, and Jurg Koch.  Her choreographic work has been featured at the Seattle International Dance Festival, Movement Research (NYC), and the Washington, D.C. Capital Fringe Festival.  In 2016, her graduate choreography was chosen to represent the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the gala performance of the American College Dance Association's North-Central Conference. Her current choreographic research is an ongoing music/dance collaboration with Virginia Tech percussion faculty member Annie Stevens. Their most recent work, Memory Palace, was funded by a grant from the VT Institute of Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT).

Noor Tasnim is a PhD Candidate in Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health at Virginia Tech. As a dancer, he has trained in various styles of dance throughout North Carolina, South Korea, and Japan, specializing in Popping and Animation. He has choreographed and performed for Street Medicine at Duke University (2015 – 2018) and Origin United Dance Crew in Cary, North Carolina (2019 – 2020). While living in Asia (2020 – 2021), he actively trained at Just Jerk Dance Academy in Seoul, South Korea and NOA Dance Academy in Tokyo, Japan.  His involvement in dance has shaped his interest in human movement and its effects on health. Noor joined the Embodied Brain Lab at Virginia Tech in Fall 2022 and has since connected his research interests in human biomechanics, cognition, and neurophysiology with his passion for dance. His dissertation focuses on the psychological, behavioral, and neural effects of dance on young adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Dr. Constantina Theofanopoulou is the Herbert and Neil Singer Research Assistant Professor at Rockefeller University, the Director of the Neurobiology of Social Communication group, and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU. Her aim is to understand the neural circuits of complex sensory motor behaviors that serve social communication, specifically speech and dance, and to identify possible therapies for speech and motor disorders. She has received over 20 scientific awards for her research, including her selection as a Next Generation Leader by the Allen Institute, and her inclusion in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2021. Constantina has served in various leadership positions in initiatives promoting diversity and equity in the sciences, such as in the New York Academy of Sciences and in the Council of the Rockefeller Inclusive Science Initiative. She is a professional flamenco dancer and in 2012, she was awarded the first prize of the Spanish Dance Society.

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