John Bohannon + Black Label Movement

Science writer + Dance troupe + Cellists<br /><br />
John Bohannon is a scientist and writer who runs the annual Dance Your Ph.D. contest. Black Label Movement is an explosively physical Minneapolis dance company. And Jelloslave is a pair of amazing cellists.

Why you should listen

John Bohannon is a biologist and journalist. After embedding in southern Afghanistan in 2010, he engineered the first voluntary release of civilian casualty data by the US-led military coalition. As a visiting scientist at Harvard, he studies the evolution of fame using data provided by Google. His research on the blurring line between the cuisine of man and pet caused Stephen Colbert to eat cat food on television.

Using an alter ego known as the Gonzo Scientist, he runs the "Dance Your Ph.D." contest for the journal Science, an international competition for scientists to explain their research with interpretive dance.

Carl Flink is the choreographer and artistic director of the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN based dance theater Black Label Movement ( He is also the endowed Nadine Jette Sween Professor of Dance and Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance ( at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.  A one-time company member and soloist with the New York City based Limón Dance Company (, his choreography is known for its intense athleticism, daring risk taking and humanistic themes that address diverse social, scientific, political and working class subjects in addition to more abstract dance approaches. Beyond the dance world, he graduated from Stanford Law School in 2001 and worked as a staff attorney with Farmers' Legal Action Group, Inc. protecting the legal rights of low-income family farmers and promoting sustainable agriculture until 2004.

Cellists/composers Michelle Kinney and Jacqueline Ultan are in demand as a duo and individually among some of the world's foremost artists in new and creative music, dance, theater and film; including Grammy winners Dan Wilson (Adele, Dixie Chicks), Sheryl Crow & Natalie Merchant. Their band Jelloslave 's two critically acclaimed CDs, Touch It, 2006, and Purple Orange, 2010 are available on itunes.

Black Label Movement is a Twin Cities-based dance theater dedicated to creating wildly physical, naturally virtuosic, intellectually and emotionally engaging art. Led by Carl Flink, this collective of dance artists seeks to push the mind, body, and heart to the edge of what is possible and beyond.

Credits for the TED2012 performance: 
BLM Movers: Lauren Baker, Natalie Bucey, Jose Bueno, Renee Copeland, Jessica Ehlert, Bryan Godbout, Eddie Oroyan

Music from Jelloslave (Michelle Kinney & Jacqueline Ultan):

Credits for the TEDxBrussels performance:
BLM Movers: Jessica Ehlert, Brian Godbout, Stephanie Laager, Edward Oroyan, Nelle Hens, Camille Prieux, Mariel Blaise, Gapson Nenaks, David Zagari & Marcio Canabarro

Music: Greg Brosofske (and you can download the music)

Support from the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Minnesota was crucial.

What others say

"John Bohannon just wanted to convince a group of drunken scientists to dance." — Elizabeth Weingarten, Slate

John Bohannon + Black Label Movement’s TED talks