The Dance of Maths at Waipara
Waipara is a small rural community north of Christchurch. Bill ran a series of 7 Friday evening dances for about 40 people covering square and contra dancing. The young people in this community are home schooled, and Bill spent a few Saturdays doing maths with them. We had fun untangling Mathematical Tangles. This comes from a square dance holding ropes invented by John Conway and discussed on the bottom of page 10 in his article The Power of Mathematics.
It is possible to take the dance of mathematics to a new level - exploring real mathematical dancing! Yes, there is such a thing! At MIT in America, engineering and science students at do it at Tech Squares. The Waipara group was a step in this direction.
A dream I have is to get a core of young people who can take this dance of mathematics on tour. At the math teachers conference last year in Australia, there was interest in such an idea. Square dancing is popular among younger people in Australia, and it would be great to use it to sell maths. Have a look at movie clip (10.3MB) of some young Aussies doing math dancing (Low Res Short Version 0:36 ,1.5 MB avi divx).