Xsection Film Festival June 30, 2019

XSection: A Dance and Science Film Festival sparking interdisciplinary collaboration between dance - science - film.

The methodologies of scientific research and dance creation are abstract. Films can document visual forms and create a tangible record of these concepts. The vision of XSFF is to archive the expression of current scientific findings and instigate with dancemakers on topical scientific issues - space exploration - medical advancements- fundamental principles. The platform is open to interpretation as long as artists are collaborating across disciplines of science and dance.

A night of interdisciplinary mingling.


Colin Minigan is a Composer born in Massachusetts. His music is concerned with issues of space, time, and the dichotomy between human society and the natural world. He takes interest in American experimental music, as well as (among others) the traditional music of Bali, Tuva, and Uganda. He uses these varied interests to inform his own compositions. In addition to concert music, he has also composed music for theater and dance. Colin obtained his B.A. in music composition from Skidmore College in 2016, where he studied Composition and Ethnomusicology. He will be attending Berklee College of Music's graduate program in the fall to obtain his MFA in Composition. He has studied West African, East and Central Asian music at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and has attended the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, and the inaugural season of Connecticut Summerfest.​ Colin has studied composition privately with Daron Hagen and Anthony Holland. He also plays and teaches piano and guitar. He currently attends Boston Conservatory - Berklee College of Music for an MFA in music composition.

Margaret Wiss is interested in the interaction between dance and science. As a choreographer and artist, she wishes to reveal the invisible motion of physical forces in the world. Attracted to dynamic movement, which investigates the perception of dance as a scientific sport, she explores the interactions of dance and the environment – inside and outside the body. She has performed at multiple venues, notably The Kennedy Center and Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, and has worked with Pilobolus Dance Theater as well as choreographers Jennifer Hart, Kinsun Chan, and Adele Myers. Her work has been presented across the United States. She has choreographed for PDX Contemporary Ballet, North Atlantic Dance Theatre, The Harvard Ballet Company and the DanceBARN Festival. This past fall she was a Visiting Artist at Mount Holyoke College and choreographed for the Five College Dance Department. She is a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, magna cum laude, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Kinesiology with high honors from the dance department. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Dance at NYU Tisch.

Alexandra Rigobon carries a copy of the periodic table of elements in her wallet. A materials scientist by training, she is interested in the application of scientific concepts outside of the traditional world of research and technology. Most notably, Alexandra spent a year researching the structure of pointe shoes and developing customizable inserts that improve comfort while en pointe and reduce the risk of injury to ballerinas. She has also worked at VICARTE in Lisbon, collaborating with local glass artists and conservationists while exploring the application of 3D-printing to the art form. Alexandra is also a passionate advocate of STEAM education, working to improve accessibility and promote interest in underserved communities, including piloting a global teaching program in Fortaleza, Brazil. She is a graduate of MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Rafael Cañals (Guest Curator)

Austin Coats (Guest Curator)


Given that artistic expression elevates a civil society, Arts at the Armory seeks to galvanize the creative spirit by providing a space where working artists and the community can come together.

191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143



6:15pm \ Performance + Keynote Speaker

7:00pm \ Film Fest

8:00pm \ Raffle + Q&A

8:30pm \ Mingle


PERFORMANCE // ALISSA VOTH {Composer} & PHILLIP WRIGHT {Recorder Performer}

The sounds you are hearing consist of sonified data from The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). The Observatory successfully detected gravitational waves from an event that occurred billions of years ago where two black holes were pulled into each others’ orbit, which secured the researchers a Nobel Prize in physics. The relationship between the audio and the performer is meant to represent these two black holes and their interactions - the inspiral, where the two are pulled into each others orbit, the merger, where they collide, and the ringdown, where they unify. Through this tension, I also mean to demonstrate two ways we can experience cosmic phenomena: scientifically, through observation, and expressively, through the imagination. Thanks to Antonina for being a powerful performer and collaborator, to graphic designer Josh Nanna for creating the animation, and to Andrew Gaffney for his ability to count backwards from sixteen; this piece was made possible by these three.


Ilya Vidrin is interested in creating inclusive containers for the deliberate practice of making thinking visible. He is committed to systematic dialogue in and through creative expression, recursive inquiry, and formal research. Comfortably situated at the nexus of art, science, and intermodal discourse, Ilya's work spans from clinical trials of cognitive behavioral therapies to dramaturgy and choreography in theatre, opera, and dance. As the artistic director of the Reciprocity Collaborative, Ilya's focus is on supporting sustainable partnerships in and between creative professionals across disciplines. A graduate of Harvard University, Ilya has been artist-in-residence at the Walnut Hill School, Interlochen Arts Academy, Jacob's Pillow, Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), and the National Parks Service.



Six Mothers | Candice Vallantin

Janus | Marta Di Francesco

EVE | Made in Hollywood USA

Oil Dancer - Circle | Tolmie MacRae

The Seeming Space Between Us | May Kesler

Upon Repetition of Thoughts | Simone Zuccarini

Gut | Maria Bartilotti Matos

Metamorfosis Callie Chapman

Helix | Seth David Myers & Sarah Stolar

Washing Distortions | Aundrea Anderson

Bleeding and Burning | Guillaume Marin

Pooling | Dawn Westlake

Standing Wave | David Phu

Rainbow Serpentine | Blas Payri

Six Mothers

Fascinated by the metamorphosis so many friends had been going through lately, Candice Vallantin decided to interview several mothers to understand their sensations. The result is Six Mothers, an experimental dance documentary that explores motherhood, birth, and the responsibility that comes with bringing a new being into the world. Many of the women interviewed were unable to find the words to describe their emotions surrounding female biology, birth, and human evolution, leading Vallantin to communicate these ineffable concepts through the powerful medium of dance

Credits: Candice Vallantin, Director/Writer/Producer | Cecilia Gala, Dancer | Consuelo Ramos, Cinematography


Marta Di Francesco’s Janus is a poetic piece, named after the two-faced ancient god of time, that explores and questions the effect on time and memory on our identity, as past and future face each other. The project was inspired by different research studies, ranging from quantum physics, to neuroscience, to philosophy, all surrounding the notions of subjective time and mental time.

Credits: Marta Di Francesco, Director/Writer/Producer | Mariana Marquez, Choreographer | Aura Satz, Voice | Kasia Witek, Dancer | Cedric Elisabeth, Original Music Composition | Richard Nathan, Sound Mix


Opening with a quote from high wire artist Philippe Petit, EVE from filmmaking duo Jeff Consiglio and Alex Naufel – better known under their collective moniker madeinhollywoodusa – reframes the graceful movements of Aerialist JB Naufel for a gravity-defying exploration of the relationship between pleasure and risk. An attempt at conceptualising a hyper-real world which breaks the laws of physics, this piece fits rather neatly at the intersection between risk and pleasure, perception and reality, gravity and movement.

Credits: Jeff Consiglio, Director | Made in Hollywood USA, Producer | Tania Holt, Choreographer

Oil Dancer - Circle

Through constant experimentation and collaboration with dancers, Tolmie MacRae has defined his own practice as a video artist with works such as Oil Dancer - Circle. Once he has captured his subject’s movement, MacRae plays and challenges their linear hierarchy, distorting the image, pulling those moments and perspectives through each other. Like the cubists trying to represent every perspective at once, video allows him to pull each of these catalogued moments through themselves to paradoxically see each frame at once, whilst also allowing things to evolve and flow over time.

Credits: Tolmie MacRae, Director/Writer/Producer | Vix Brown, Choreographer | Tolmie MacRae & Jack O'Connor, Music

The Seeming Space Between Us

Fascia is a newly-discovered 4 dimensional web-like connective tissue that infiltrates every cell within us. In The Seeming Space Between Us, May Kesler explores the evolution and movement of fascia, as well as its properties, through the lens of dance. Set to Gil Hedley’s poem of the same name, this film explores fascia kinesthetically and artistically, providing the viewer with stimulating visuals to promote interest in this new area of anatomy.

Credits: May Kesler, Director/Producer/Choreographer | May Kesler & Gil Hedley, Writer | Max Maisey & Ariel O'Connor, Dancers

Upon Repetition of Thoughts

Simone Zuccarini’s film, Upon Repetition of Thoughts, is an experimental combination of repetitions, projections, and dance movements. Sometimes, you might struggle to get what you want, but there is a curious way to overcome these obstacles and succeed: repetition, or an infinite loop of positive thoughts. As our dancer moves through the space, we see an infinitely delayed video of her motion projected onto a nearby surface, visualizing the repetition that allows us to surpass the challenges life throws our way

Credits: Simone Zuccarini, Director/Producer | Vanessa Michielon, Performer | Jacopo Landi, Support Camera


Gut, produced by Maria Bartilotti Matos at KINO-DOC, is a visual project that combines medical ultrasound videos that show internal body sounds and movements, specifically movement within the gut. These ultrasounds are combined with choreographed body movements and aim to increase the spectator’s awareness of his own singularity through sensorial and visual perception, a feeling many times forgotten and only perceived during illness

Credits: KINO-DOC, Producer | Maria Bartilotti Matos, Director/Writer | Maria Bartilotti Matos, Dancer | Jorge Carvalho, Camera


Metamorfosis" is only an excerpted/curated section of what is possible when programming live video through the media server, bringing the piece to places choreography itself could not have gone by itself. How the movement is captured in movement trails via the "motion blur" actor allows the viewer to experience time slowed down and visualized. Various other parameters are constantly adjusted to create a "plug and play" interactive choreographic tool that feedbacks on itself to create a constant feed of possibility based off of what is fed into it. On the flipside, the output (because it is edited live) gives immediate feedback for choreographic play and design. Choreographically it's a whole different animal when fed into the system, akin to puppetry, but when the puppet is the feedback of source material. Science makes this all possible as the integration of various computer technologies are necessary for a seamless workflow and interactivity between choreographer, performer, and output.

Credits: Callie Chapman, Director/Producer/Choreographer


In order to explore time and space, while researching multiple disciplines, Seth David Myers has produced the Ribbon Series, six videos that explore these displacements within the construct of an ethereal and psychological landscape. Helix focuses on our existence on a molecular level: the figure’s movements in the work function as both molecules and dance. The audience is challenged to work through this enigma.

Credits: Seth David Myers & Sarah Stolar, Director/Producer | John, Spencer, Director of Photography/Co-Editor | Bella Palermo, Dancer | Garrett Anderson & Courtney Anderson, Choreographers

Washing Distortions

Aundrea Anderson’s work, Washing Distortions, is the result of a chemical experiment, and the science of developing an image. Similarly, within these actions we can see how the process of science results in art. Experimenting with a mono flex processing technique, the artist has produced both a positive and negative image in the frame. After using rubber cement over pieces of the film, it was submerged in into the reversal bleach, rinsed and then processed for a second time: the result was a frame that was completely black. After removing the rubber cement, the negative image stayed intact, creating the fluid progression of a negative image, through which we see the dancer’s movements.

Credits: Aundrea Anderson, Director/Choreographer | Silverback Ginger Productions, Producer | Emily Pietruszka, Dancer | Nathan Wheeler, Sound Design

Bleeding and Burning

Bleeding and Burning uses a mix of dance, editing and speed in order to make optical illusions and create a new vision of the same thing. Guillaume Marin’s film is built around the concept of pareidolia vision, the tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as a known entity. Some common examples of this are faces or objects in cloud formations, the Man in the Moon, hidden messages in recorded music, and hearing indistinct voices in random noise such as that produced by air conditioners or fans. The film targets the transformation of movement, color, and sound to stimulate pareidolia vision and create the illusion of a new thing.

Credits: Guillaume Marin, Director/Producer/Writer | Julie, DOP | Fauve, Costume Designer | Anabel, Dancer | Victoria, Dancer


In Dawn Westlake’s Pooling, a breakdancer falls from a high dive and literally breaks apart. Through the science of CGI and computer animation, he rebuilds and reanimates himself, eventually converting into pure energy. In executing the dance moves, Marc Carrizo Vilarroig also demonstrates a keen understanding of body mechanics and basic physical laws of locomotion and the effects of gravity. Westlake conceived of Pooling in 2015, as a vehicle to collaborate with her godson, an international breakdance champion and member of the prestigious Barcelona-based urban dance troupe, Brodas Bros.

Credits: Dawn Westlake, Director/Writer | Dawn Westlake & Ron de Cana Prods, Inc., Producer | Marc Carrizo Vilarroig, Choreographer | Dismas Lizarraga & GrissyG Lizarraga, Animation | Pol Carrizo Vilarroig, Cinematography, Visual Effects | Joan Armand Forero, Music

Standing Wave

David Phu’s Standing Wave is a modern dance experimental video that shows the dancer, Martha Hart, moving simultaneously forward and backward in time. Martha is shown next to herself — one is moving forward in time while the other backward. At the midpoint of the performance, they interact and intersect. The performance is a metaphor for the physics phenomenon called a “standing wave,” where two identical waveforms meet at opposing directions and stand still.

Credits: David Phu, Director/Composer | Martha Hart, Dancer/Choreographer

Rainbow Serpentine

Rainbow Serpentine refers to the first “screendance” pieces made by the Frères Lumière with Louïe Fuller’s Dance Serpentine, that were hand painted directly on film to create the color variations that were the mark of the dancer. Here, Blay Payri explores the additive and subtractive nature of light by superposing the traces in time, left by a moving body. The coloring is made with different layers in post-production, as an inspiration and an homage to these early works in film effects. The image of the dancer is superposed to create two moving bodies that intersect and move apart, creating different color combinations.

Credits: Blas Payri, Director/ Producer | Idoya Rossi, Dancer/ Choreographer


Physics and Dance (Book), Emily Coats & Sarah Demers

Apolla Shocks (Performance Socks Credit)

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