The Biology of Dance

Sydney Freggiaro

Molecular biology and dance may not appear to have much in common – yet Sydney Freggiaro ’09 majored in both at Scripps College.

“I never thought there would be a crossover in my two degrees. I just knew I could offer each respective field more in having experienced the other,” Freggiaro says. “I seemed to approach my lab work and experiments very creatively. Alternatively, I always relied on a very calculated and methodical approach to choreography.

“I used my strengths in both fields to bring something new to the table when focusing on one or the other.”

Freggiaro’s knowledge in both fields recently paid off when she choreographed her first music video for the indie band, The Mowgli’s. The song is titled “San Francisco.”

She thought about the assignment carefully before taking the plunge – much like the tactics she uses to approach lab work.

“I knew none of the band members, but I made a concerted effort to get to know all eight before the actual shoot since I had to place each one in a part in the story,” Freggiaro says. “I wanted it to flow organically for them, so it was important to get to know their personality types. We are all good friends now.”

When Freggiaro graduated from Scripps, she worked at a cancer research lab in Seattle for a year and a half before moving back to Los Angeles for a job in biotech sales. She did that for another year and a half.

Her career was moving along swiftly until last spring when a close friend nearly died. She then re-evaluated her career trajectory.

“That was a shocking wake-up call reminding me that my time on earth is limited,” she says. “What use was I to my community if I was not actively pursuing what I loved?”

Soon after, she quit her biotech sales job and pursued her love of dance. She now volunteers at The Sweat Spot, a dance studio in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake.

A friend at the dance studio referred her to The Mowgli’s.

“It was a pretty unlikely connection, but I created a good reputation for myself among a large group of artists,” she says.

Freggiaro is now an independent, freelance choreographer contracted with Kreativ Studios in Los Angeles. She is currently working on her second music video for the band Project Primal.

None of this great success surprises Associate Professor of Biology Emily Wiley, one of Freggiaro’s former professors at the W.M. Keck Science Department. Wiley says Freggiaro was “an energetic, imaginative, dedicated, and hardworking student.”

“She is now applying her science skills to teaching and directing dance in new ways,” Wiley says.