Bodies: A Look From the Inside Out

I recently went to see BODIES… The Exhibition at the South Street Seaport, just a few blocks from the DT office. If you aren’t familiar with this show, take caution—it’s not for the faint of heart! Although I think it’s a must-see for dancers and dance educators alike, as our bodies are our instruments.

Real human bodies that have been dissected and preserved (to prevent from decaying—and giving off a foul odor, I’m sure) are displayed to offer an in-depth view of the muscles, tissues and numerous other parts that, when combined, create the human body.

Once dissected, each body is immersed in acetone, which eliminates water. The specimen is then placed in a large bath of silicone, or polymer, and sealed in a vacuum chamber. Under vacuum pressure, the acetone leaves the body in the form of gas and the polymer replaces it, entering each cell and body tissue. A catalyst is then applied to the specimen, hardening it and completing the process, allowing thousands of unique teaching possibilities for educators, medical professionals, archeologists and the like.

This remarkable exhibition reveals how the body works by exploring it from the inside out. As it is meant to give people a deeper respect for the machine that gives them the power of life, it got me thinking about the importance that everyone—especially dancers—should place on caring for themselves.

While it can be a challenge to eat properly, avoid colds and flus and steer clear of temptations such as nicotine and alcohol, remember that your body will thank you if you try your best. Check out some of our recent Health: How-To stories for more inspiration: The October issue, for example, includes an article on avoiding burnout, while September included one on tips for dealing with a lost voice. Plus, we’ve got many more in store, so stay tuned!

Clockwise from top left: Courtesy Ford Foundation; Christian Peacock; Nathan James, Courtesy Gibson; David Gonsier, courtesy Marshall; Bill Zemanek, courtesy King; Josefina Santos, courtesy Brown; Jayme Thornton; Ian Douglas, courtesy American Realness

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