Dance Your PhD

The AAAS and Science Magazine host an annual Dance Your PhD competition. It is a dance video competition to challenging graduate students around the world to make a dance video about their thesis research. In 2017,  Nancy Scherich’s video Representations of the Braid Groups won the physics category and overall first place.

We have made a four part series of videos giving a more in depth description of the math behind ‘Representations of the Braid Groups’ which can be found on Youtube HERE.

The Cast and Crew:

Nancy Headshot

Nancy Scherich: Writer,  Producer, Artistic designer, Costume designer, Choreographer, Lead Aerialist

(photo credit: Dean Morales)

IP7A2197-EditAlex Nye: Director and Cinematographer

Alex is an award winning fine-art and architectural photographer who started his career in New York before migrating to California. His work has been exhibited in group and solo shows on both coasts and received awards in local and international competitions. In addition to commercial photography he runs a video production company based in Santa Barbara called PrismediaSocial: @AlexNyeArt |


Steven Deeble: Producer

Steven Deeble is an award-winning writer, photographer, multi-media artist, and filmmaker. He has produced, written, and directed several short films as well as serving as Associate Producer on two independent features. He recently published his first novel, ‘Persistence of Vision’, which is available on Amazon.

Lauren Hector Stag Crop

Lauren Breese: Choreographer, Braid aerialist, ‘Determinant dancer’

AIREDANSE | Founder, Choreographer, Instructor
A dancer and aerialist, Lauren is the creator of AIREDANSE — a unique and exhilarating adventure in dance fitness. Her playful teaching approach helps students discover their strength, beauty and power in the air while connecting movement and breath with music. As the director of the AIREDANSE On-Stage Performance Collective, Lauren provides performers the opportunity to cultivate their aerial skills and unique talents and bring them to life in entertaining productions fusing a variety of dance styles.
Contact: • 805.966.1409 •


Emily Baker: Creator and designer of the ‘Determinant apparatus’

Emily Baker received her B.F.A. in Interior Design from California State University, Chico, and worked in the fabrication industry upon graduating in 2011. She recently received her M.F.A. from UC, Santa Barbara in June, 2016. Throughout her time in graduate school her research has been inspired by the need to channel raw muscle memory into an alternative format. Her work explores mark-making and human scale and seeks to document the visual space in-between start and stop. Using a variety of  materials, she examines the ritualistic nature of sport and the necessary endurance that is called upon when executing passion through motion. She now is a lecturer at UCSB in The College of Creative Studies and the Art Department, and at Allan Hancock Collage in Santa Maria.


Corrine Guichard: Hoop dancer, Braid aerialist, Kernel aerialist

Corinne began training in aerial arts in 2013, and she quickly fell in love. She started teaching and coordinating the aerial silks program at UCSB Adventure Programs and furthering her training at studios throughout California. Her passion for performing led her to AIREDANSE, where she performs and teaches aerial dance. Among other self-proclamations, Corinne is a yoga enthusiast and rock climber with a newfound affinity for dance, which has led her to explore hoop dancing, ballet, hip hop, and contemporary dance styles. She graduated from UCSB with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature in 2017; recently, she has explored fusing two of her greatest passions, words and movement, by combining spoken word with creative movement on and off the ground. Social: @unrefined_co

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Eric Boesser: ‘Faithful Representation’

Eric Boesser is a recent graduate of UCSB with a degree in Classics who decided to dedicate his life to the performing arts. While new to dance, Eric has a history of other physical activities such as running, rock climbing, and, of course, Aerial Silks! He is currently working full time in the Santa Barbara area while training for a future in aerial performance.


Abe Pressman: ‘Unfaithful Representation’

Abe Pressman is a 100% real human being and not secretly a shapeshifting reptile, though he does think lizards are pretty cool. He’s working towards a PhD in Chemical Engineering at UCSB, where he studies the mathematics of biochemical evolution in artificial alien life.


Kaleena Quarles: Braid aerialist, Kernel aerialist, Determinant dancer

Kaleena began classical dance training in ballet as a young child and over the years began to explore other dance genres such as jazz, modern, and tap. She was a member of the Mendocino College Dance Company and continued to dance when she transferred to study at UC Santa Barbara. The stars aligned when she discovered aerial dance in 2011 and it became her passion. She left the country to work and travel abroad for 4 years and managed to train in aerial dance in places like South Korea, Indonesia, and New Zealand. She is now happy to be back and performing with Airedanse in Santa Barbara.

24201350_10203894632562135_635072532_oClaire Lindstrom: Braid aerialist

Claire Lindstrom is a current student at CSU Channel Islands pursuing a Bachelors in Nursing. She has been in a dance environment since she was 6 years old competing nationally in gymnastics, tumbling and cheerleading. Claire looks forward to incorporating her background into her new passion for aerial dance.

Aerial 1

Olivia Davi: Glow fan dancer

Olivia (Liv) Davi was born in Monterey, California where she studied ballet and modern dance since she was 5 years old. Liv was a member of the UCSB Middle East Ensemble dance company for five years, where she studied authentic styles of folkloric, classical, and modern Middle Eastern dance. She received a full-ride scholarship to the Mendocino Middle East Camp in 2015, where she trained with world-class performers including Shahrzad Khorsandi. She has trained in aerial arts since October 2016 under the instruction of Lauren Breese and Autumn McIntyre, and has been a member of AIREDANSE since April 2017. (Photo credit: Rob Hoffman)

dsc1965.jpgBeatrice Antonie Martino: Determinant dancer

Beatrice Antonie Martino holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Dance and Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received honors distinctions in her majors. Beatrice has been dancing from the age of ten and has studied various forms of dance including ballet, modern, Irish folk dances, Baroque dance, lindy hop, swing, and blues. Beatrice has toured internationally with the UCSB Dance Company, and has choreographed over a dozen pieces, including an original full evening length work entitled “My Dreams are Magnetic – I Cannot Help but Follow” inspired by Marc Chagall’s Girl in Pursuit. Beatrice is passionate about finding the intersections between dance, music, and the visual arts, and enjoys working collaboratively with other artists to create interdisciplinary works. Beatrice currently resides in Santa Barbara, where she teaches lindy hop in the community and works for UCSB Arts & Lectures as Performing Arts Coordinator. She travels the country frequently for swing and blues dance events. Beatrice is planning to pursue an MFA in Choreography in the Fall of 2018.