‘One’ Episode 13: Kai-Lan Olson explores relationships between music, dance, injury recovery & prevention

Laurie Gomez YC '22
Screen shot from 'One, Episode 13' featuring Kai-Lan Olson YC '20

In episode #13 of the Yale Schwarzman Center (YSC) web series, O​ne, neuroscience major Kai-Lan Olson YC’20, talks with Laurie Gomez YC’22 about the performance work she has done to push for greater collaboration between live music and dance. She discusses her thesis work focused on the neural processes responsible for pain after injury – and how she sees scientists working with performance artists to overcome the physical challenges of pain and injury.

Olson began her journey in music and choreography at Yale as a harpist in the Yale Symphony Orchestra and Yale School of Music. In her junior year she joined A Different Drum Dance Company and the Yale Dance Lab in an effort to branch out from the traditional ballet she did in high school.

Coming from an interdisciplinary artistic background, Olson explored ways that musicians and dancers could interact and respond to one another. For example, in a live performance with A Different Drum Dance Company, she combined her roles as both harpist and dancer. She explained, “My goal in my choreography was really to blend the line between musician and dancer.”

Olson ultimately majored in neuroscience seeking answers to questions about the pain and injury associated with both of her artistic crafts. She studied the neural processes responsible for pain after injury and hopes to bring scientists into studios with performing artists to help improve injury prevention as her work progresses.

Gomez, the host of episode 13, is a junior in Ezra Stiles College and a student staff member for the Schwarzman Center specializing in communications outreach. She is double majoring in Political Science and Film & Media Studies.

One, a web series produced by the YSC, highlights interdisciplinary approaches to the arts in relation to the Center’s values of collaboration, wellness and belonging. The inaugural season illuminates the creative and academic merits of student works impacted by social distance and explores perspectives on community-building among dispersed groups. The series title, One, is a nod to the YSC’s aspiration to advance a sense of “One Yale” and create an interconnected community that builds new traditions of student engagement around the campus and into the world.

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