Loyola University Chicago


Department of Fine and Performing Arts


Interdisciplinary Research in Dance and Biology Through Film

Interdisciplinary Research in Dance and Biology Through Film

Junior Dance and Biology double major is using her dance training to facilitate learning through movement.

Masha Bandouil, a junior Biology and Dance double major from Dallas, is creating three dance films as part of her research fellowship at the Norton and Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics. The films investigate how dance can be used to make science more accessible.

According to senior dance major and film minor Marisa Dickens, dance films can be defined as “a visual medium that uses movement to tell a story”. In In Bandouil’s case, movement serves as a way to make science and genetics more accessible to everyone.

In the first film Bandouil will cover the basics of genetics. The second dance film will address genetically based diseases and how they impact the Jewish population. The third and final film will focus on hereditary cancer. This trio of dance films will be posted to the Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics’ website as an alternative way to learn about Jewish genetics.

“I’m hoping that this project will help bridge the gap between complex scientific topics and the general public through the arts,” Bandouil said.

In support of this ambitious project, Bandouil has received two fellowships: the Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship through the Loyola Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (LUROP) and the Carroll and Adelaide Johnson Scholarship through The Gannon Center for Women and Leadership.

According to the LUROP website, the Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship is given to two undergraduate for research that engages “multidisciplinary lenses.” According to the Gannon Center website, the Johnson Scholarship was created to offer rising juniors financial aid to conduct interdisciplinary research connected to a social justice issue. Bandouil is listed on the site as a current Johnson Scholar.

“I believe that the mind/body dichotomy has been established within our society, which limits knowledge acquisition to only the mind,” states Bandouil in her online feature. “However, the body houses a language in itself and can be increasingly effective in communicating knowledge to others.”

Both of these grants are helping Bandouil fund costumes, videographers, editors and composers. Bandouil explains that this interdisciplinary project would not have been possible without the support of these fellowships.

“Being a biology and dance double major, I wanted to find a way to combine my majors for my research project, and this is what I came up with,” Bandouil explains.

For more information on dance as research, attend the dance portion of the research symposium on Saturday, April 18th, 2020 in Loyola’s Mundelein Center, room 409.


Alexandra Ditoro
B.A Dance and Journalism