Alan Turing was the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. During World War II, he played a pivotal role in cracking encoded messages that allowed the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial battles. In 1952, he was prosecuted in England for homosexual acts and chemically castrated. He committed suicide just days before his 42nd birthday.

In 2009, the Prime Minister of the UK made an official public apology regarding the treatment of Turing, and in 2013, the Queen granted him a posthumous pardon. Now, 65 years after Turning’s death, the importance of his genius and the tragedy of his life are being recognized in science, art, literature, film and dance.

The Invertigo Dance Theatre of Los Angeles is one organization that has focused on the life and times of Turing. Laura Karlin, Founder and Artistic Director of the dance company, is the creator, director and co-choreographer of Formulae & Fairy Tales, a full-length dance that places the world of mathematics, artificial intelligence and cryptography alongside a twisted fairy tale of romanticized beauty, and blends historical events, sexuality, gender identity and humanity seamlessly together as it superimposes themes from Turing’s favorite film, Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Some attribute Turing’s death to eating an apple laced with cyanide, an act foreshadowed by Snow White.

Formulae & Fairy Tales was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Invertigo Dance Theatre’s mission is to create connections and tell stories that resonate with diverse communities. Formulae & Fairy Tales allowed Invertigo to develop partnerships with the STEM academic community, LGBTQIA+ organizations and queer activists to reach beyond the typical dance audience to keep alive the meaning of Alan Turing’s life. It is productions like these that transcend contemporary issues and put into perspective the importance of a person’s life to the advancement of humanity.

Formulae & Fairy Tales - Trailer - Invertigo Dance Theatre


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