The American Association for the Advancement of Science has announced the winners of its annual ‘Dance your PhD’ science communication contest, in which doctoral candidates attempt to explain their thesis through the medium of interpretive dance.

This year 53 entrants took part and, as always, a variety of dance styles – as well as research disciplines – were represented.

The overall winner, who collected a $2500 (£1900) cash prize, was Nancy Scherich from the University of California, Santa Barbara in the US. Her entry in the maths category showed how mathematical representations are used to study knots and braids in a performance featuring aerial fabric dancers and glow-in-the-dark effects.

However, the online audience’s favourite was an entry in the chemistry category by Natália Oliveira from the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil. The video, entitled ‘Pop, dip and spin’, used contemporary dance moves and upbeat backing music to tell the story of how biosensors are used to detect blood and other biomolecules by forensic scientists.

Other winning entries include a particularly theatrical piece by Judit Pétervári from Queen Mary University of London, UK, whose research compares how creative ideas are judged by experts and novices, as well as a jazz-themed number from biologist Monica Moritsch, who studies sea star ecology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

All of the winning videos can be watched online.