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'Kangaroo Time' wins the annual Dance Your PhD contest in Australia


Some very serious people got a chance to express themselves in Australia.


WELITON MENARIO COSTA: (Singing) Kanga, kangaroo, kanga, kangaroo...

INSKEEP: We're dancing here in the studios.


"Kangaroo Time" was this year's overall winner of the annual Dance Your PhD contest. Scientists from around the world relay their research through interpretive dance.


COSTA: (Singing) Hope you don't mind, some things I learned from my kanga-time (ph)...

INSKEEP: The winner was Weliton Menario Costa, who wrote and sang this song when he was a PhD candidate at Australian National University.

COSTA: My PhD was on kangaroo behavior. So kangaroos do have personality. It means they do have this intrinsic tendencies of behaving in a particular way and that is different from the other.

MARTIN: The different behaviors Costa observed are expressed through samba, ballet, Brazilian capoeira, salsa and, of course, twerking.


MARTIN: Some kangaroos seem to change their personalities to fit in.

COSTA: When they move across different groups, and kangaroos do that a lot, as they do so, they do adjust their behavior to the behavior of other individuals in the group.

INSKEEP: Costa expressed that with an elaborately produced video. Sometimes you see kangaroos on a grassy plain, and sometimes you see the scientist on that plane dancing with other people who are dressed in different ways.

COSTA: I'm also a part of the queer community, and having drag queens was a very important aspect that I wanted to bring. Basically anyone seeing that video will see diversity, and that's how you should see any workspace.

MARTIN: And Costa loves music so much that he's actually left academia to be a musician full time.

INSKEEP: I'm just trying to think about different dances we could try, Michel, to express different news stories.

MARTIN: It would have flow.

INSKEEP: Square dancing? We'll flow.


INSKEEP: We'll just kind of flow.

MARTIN: We'll just interpret.

INSKEEP: We'll just keep going.

MARTIN: We just keep going.

INSKEEP: Keep going. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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