TEDxUCLA 2017: Gravity

A fluid look at gravity through performance


About Melissa

Melissa Barak trained at the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica for eight years and was accepted into the School of American Ballet’s year round program in New York on the Janice Levin Scholarship and joined the New York City Ballet as a full company member in 1998.


Imagine a faraway place. It’s desolate. It’s vast. You’ve never felt so alone in your entire life.

All you see before you are endless peaks and valleys. Sand as far as the eye can see. The smell in the air is completely unfamiliar. The light piercing down upon you is of another world.

Eos Chasma, an actual section of Mars, is known for its intense winds and deep jagged cliffs. It is truly hostile terrain.

These are the kinds of images that spark the imagination, the creative ingredients in which to pull from as one creates a ballet.

With Mars as the subject, there were many factors to pull from that could shape the choreographic movement. How would our bodies move, given a different gravitational pull? What other kinds of cosmic forces exist? And how would that impact us physically?

At least for now, we can only imagine what it would be like on Mars.