David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

Breaking the Fourth Wall

Question: What are the biggest challenges facing your company?

Wheeldon: I think finding ways to open up the art form to a broader audience without compromising the integrity of the art form itself. That’s one of the things that I think all artistic directors in the ballet world struggle with these days, is how do you pull in that audience? I mean, you can’t really just do, like the Joffery Ballet did. Years ago they made a full length evening work to the music of Prince, and they got the audience in there, but in the end was the work itself really something that was not only kind of pushing the boundaries of the audience that was attending the work, but actually pushing the boundaries of the art form itself? So it’s difficult to know how to balance that. I think that’s a big challenge. The work has to be resonant and powerful in its own right, and you market ballet in sexy clever ways to get people to come in, but if it’s not an emotional response that you get from the audience that’s going to make them want to come back, then it’s, you know, it doesn’t really matter how you package it.

Question: Does your company have an individual flavor?

Wheeldon: I think so.  I think we are, I mean we’re a very young company, and we’re not even fully formed, fully established yet.  There aren’t 20 Morphosis dances that I have at my disposal for, you know, 35 weeks of the year, and that’s the goal.  But I think so.  I think we already, from our season last year, have a reputation as being in some ways a friendly company, a company that you can come and see, and be offered a slightly different perspective, a different view point on the art form, and we do that in various ways.  You know, I try to come out in front of the curtain every night, and talk a little bit about what the audience is about to see, and I’ll be doing a little bit more of that this year.  We collaborate with filmmakers to make little shorts that we show between ballets, which can be a little snapshot of rehearsal, or a montage of the dancers preparing in some way for the roles that they’re going to dance.  By doing that, what we hope to offer is a little bit more insight into what it is that they’re going to see, again kind of linking that final performance with breaking down the fourth wall a little bit.  I mean, it’s somewhat of a cliché to say, but I think instead of it being, you know, them and us, somehow finding a way to link the audience to the work that they’re seeing, and, you know, it was great.  I got all sorts of comments from people who, not everyone can sit in the first five rows of the theater, so if you give them a short film of the dancers rehearsing the work that they’re about to see before hand, they get the opportunity to see the expression of the dancer, the faces, so when they see it, somehow they feel maybe they know a little bit more about that person that they’re watching, and it’s not just like a little tiny, glowing stick figure at the back of the vast stage.

Recorded on: 5/22/

How Christopher Wheeldon’s company, Morphoses, is chipping away at it.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less

Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
Keep reading Show less

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.