Blending Dance and Science to Engage and Communicate

As a dancer and choreographer as well as research scientist, Dr. Jenkins is interested in the intersection of science and dance as a tool for conveying research results and engaging the community in projects. Below you will find links to various projects that blend dance and science to generate new ideas and raise awareness of marine conservation issues. You can learn more about Dr. Jenkins personal journey in combining dance and science here. You can also read about Dr. Jenkins’ research on the impacts of science dance on the current projects page.

Sea Turtle Science Dance

This video features a dance co-choreographed by Dr. Jenkins and the participants using a participatory process that Dr. Jenkins developed. The dance won 1st place in the International Sea Turtle Society’s Dance Your Research Competition in 2017. The short documentary, Making of video, reveals how the participants were transformed by experiences. A preliminary analysis of post-interviews showed the dancers: 1) voluntarily engaged in peer-to-peer sharing of knowledge while maintaining the integrity of the scientific information, 2) expressed newfound appreciation for sea turtle conservation work, 3) found meaningful connections between the research and their own interests, 4) demonstrated new knowledge, 5) expressed concern for sea turtles, 6) thought dance is a powerful tool to motivate more people to care about sea turtles, and 7) expressed a desire to perform the work again for more audiences.

Student Art and the Oceans Video Project


Students in Dr. Jenkins’ course, Society and the Oceans, created group projects that expressed the course concepts through art. This video is of one of these projects and illustrates the trophic cascade between people, otters, sea urchins, and kelp. It depicts how the Monterey Bay went from a healthy ecosystem, to a degraded ecosystem, and finally to a recovering ecosystem.

Sea Turtle Conservation Dance

This video features a piece choreographed by Dr. Jenkins for the 2008 AAAS Science Dance Competition in which it won runner-up in the postdoctoral category. Using mostly scientists with little or no dance training, this piece depicts Dr. Jenkins’ dissertation entitled “The invention and adoption of conservation technology to successfully reduce the bycatch of protected marine species.” The dance focuses on one of Dr. Jenkins’ research case studies: the use of turtle excluder devices to protect sea turtles and the people who came together to invent them.

Can’t Give Up Now

Dr. Jenkins choreographed this dance as a farewell performance for the Dance Arts Studio, where she taught dance throughout graduate school. The dance depicts the struggles of pursuing a Ph.D., the final push to finish her thesis, and the sustaining grace of God that carried her through it all.