LAST EDITED ON 04-09-02 AT 08:21 AM (GMT)
The BBC has announced details of its forthcoming series, "The Dancer's Body", in which Deborah Bull investigates the science of dance.
Deborah Bull, former prima ballerina with The Royal Ballet presents, and often dances in, her new landmark series for BBC TWO, The Dancer's Body.
The series, starting on 21 September, and also written by Deborah Bull, breaks new ground in creating a bridge between science and the performing arts.
It investigates the science behind those elements of the human body, brain and mind that make performance possible, and understood.
Specially commissioned new dance features in each of the programmes, including two pieces by unconventional and innovative choreographer Wayne McGregor in programme one and a duet by David Bintley, director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, in programme three.
The Dancer's Body investigates how the human body adapts through training and looks at the dancer's specific skills, such as flexibility, turning and jumping.
In the second programme, Deborah Bull explores the dancer's brain, discovering how movement is learnt and remembered and what lies behind a dancer's exceptional ability for control and co-ordination.
Throughout the series Deborah Bull puts her body through a series of challenges in order to illuminate its workings.
She performs on stage at the Royal Opera House, experiences a flight simulator's autopilot, tears around the Manchester velodrome on a racing bike, examines dizziness on Dr Michael Gresty's spinning chair and is slid into the cavernous interior of a magnetic resonance imaging machine to examine her brain.
Deborah Bull says: "The Dancer's Body has provided a wonderful opportunity for me to investigate the questions I've always wanted to answer about an art form I've practised for so long.
"It has allowed me to take a long, hard look at how dancers do the seemingly impossible - and how audiences read so much into what they see."
Deborah isn't the only star performer in this series.
The programmes include performances from ballet stars such as 19-year-old Marianella Nunez, The Royal Ballet's youngest principal dancer (and known as one of the best "turners" in the business) and male dancers Akram Khan, Jonathan Cope, Ivan Putrov, Edward Watson (renowned for his incredible flexibility), Thomas Edur and the striking Italian Alessandro Molin.
Sir Anthony Dowell, one of the greatest male dancers the UK has produced, comes out of retirement to see if he can remember a dance he last performed in 1982.
Programme 1 - A Machine that Dances - 21 September 2002
Programme 1 investigates the physicality of dance, concentrating on the anatomy and physiology of the dancer's body and the complex interplay of muscle, tendon and ligament which produce movement.
Deborah shows how the body has to adapt to become a professional dancer and discovers, finally, why a dancer's trick of "spotting" whilst turning prevents dizziness.
Dancers, synchronised swimmers and stars from The Royal Ballet display their extraordinary flexible talents, and the American hip hop dancer, Bill Shannon challenges conventional notions of disability as he dances through New York's traffic on his crutches and skateboard.
Programme 2 - A Headful of Footsteps - 28 September 2002
The second programme probes the human brain, the complex interplay of brain, nerve cells, memory and emotions that make performance possible.
During the programme, Deborah returns to the place she first learnt to dance, a hall above an amusement arcade in Skegness, where veteran teacher Janice Sutton still puts hopeful children through their paces.
A sixth-sense called proprioception - fundamental to movement control, but something most people don't even know exists - is investigated as Deborah meets the only person in the world who manages to walk despite having lost this crucial sense.
Programme 3 - Move like you mean it - 5 October 2002
The last programme examines the dancer's body as a medium for communication: what dance is for and what it means, and how gesture and movement are even older than spoken language.
It reveals how dancers and choreographers set about conveying feelings and telling stories without words and how the audience's brain takes in and interprets dance.
Deborah also investigates the relationship between human body language and dance.
Brain scientists Sarah Jayne Blakemore, Vilayanur Ramachandran and Semir Zeki use tennis, tango and Bollywood spectaculars to illustrate how we interpret movement and why we get pleasure from watching dancers perform.
Two specially commissioned dances, by Wayne McGregor and David Bintley, demonstrate how two choreographers can interpret a single theme in radically different ways.