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Math Dance with Dr. Schaffer and Mr. Stern


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Karl Schaffer and Erik Stern had been choreographing works together for three years when they began to discuss the similarities between the processes that underlie mathematics and dance. The performance that resulted, Dr. Schaffer and Mr. Stern, Two Guys Dancing About Math, premiered in 1990, has been performed over 500 times throughout North America in concert halls, schools, and at dance and mathematics conferences, and led to the creation of many other performances exploring the connections between mathematics and dance. The Dr. Schaffer and Mr. Stern Dance Ensemble, co-founded and co-directed by Schaffer and Stern, began in Santa Cruz in 1987 and has been touring nationally since 1989. Their dances have explored ideas ranging from Shakespeare to the extinction of the dinosaurs, from basketball to science. The ensemble has enjoyed broad support including from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and the Arts Council Santa Cruz County. Schaffer and Stern are Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Teaching Artists. Recently they performed at the World Science Festival, the Museum of Mathematics in New York City, and the National Science Museum in Seoul, Korea. Aside from being a professional dancer, Karl Schaffer has a Ph.D. in mathematics from University of California at Santa Cruz and teaches mathematics at De Anza College in Cupertino, CA. Receiving an undergraduate degree in biology, Erik Stern has an M.F.A. in dance from the California Institute of the Arts and teaches Dance at Weber State University in Utah. Scott Kim is an internationally renowned puzzle-master and a mathematics educator and enthusiast with a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University.

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