I am inspired by the tiny intricate movements in a tide pool, the last second sprint of the plover as it dodges an incoming wave, the kinetic designs of migrating birds overhead, the elegance of a fly- fisherman’s cast into a tumultuous current, and the magic of a blue tide, where bioluminescence brings light to the night: these moments of discovery feel like a special secret, revealed to me by the planet. Once discovered, I want to share these indelible moments - through a whispered beat, a glowing gesture and a shadowy leap from the wings.
I am curious about the extraordinary ways in which individuals, organisms and communities interact with their environment. Cultural anthropology, human ecology and environmental diversity drive my choreographic focus. Frequent explorations of biocultural diversity help me better understand how the world works, and appreciate how unique, beautiful and rare life is on our planet: dance is a profound medium to communicate this. Discoveries, movements and metaphors encountered in these journeys inspire my work.
I utilize choreography to understand and express these perpetual and temporal glimpses of the world. Dancing allows me to convey kinetic tales gleaned from the universe and share them with others. I present dance that comes from a place of honest excitement and curiosity about the natural world, and I create experiences that focus attention upon our interactions with it – highlighting aspects of human ecology: our uniqueness, dominance and success as a species, our often silent and invisible contributions to environmental catastrophe, our sensitivities and passions – the stories that we tell our children, and the art of making meaning. I feel that dance encourages people to experience the environment, fostering a fuller and more conscious appreciation through dynamic re-interpretation. For me, dance acts as a future catalyst to explore nature – to see it, feel it, touch it, understand and protect it. I want the audience to leave the theater, inspired to continue to create their own memories of the great places in the world, and to do their part to keep them healthy.
Choreographic details of gesture, color, and pattern reveal the environment and its inhabitants that inspired the movement. The dance is crafted as an experience similar to how one would explore a tide pool; the first look uncovers sea urchins, starfish and seaweed. These larger shapes, color palates and detectable movements eventually give way to the tiny shrimp scurrying below barnacle encrusted rocks. The translucent green-hued moss coats the bottom and defines the terrain. If you remain motionless, tiny snails will slowly reveal themselves and shrimp will reemerge. If you gaze long and deep enough, you’ll see your reflection in the sky above.
Skills of perception help identify ‘the difference that makes the difference’ between the story we want to tell ourselves and the story that nature is telling us. I seek out these relationships, patterns, movements and habitats because they offer telling insights into how nature works and why we do the things we do.
In this vein, I strive to make graceful, vibrant, evocative dance, driven by content, research, and imagination. Individual pieces share these common themes: perception, interaction, relationship and consequence. Questions explored have been: how does a person walk versus a bird? Which way does the knee bend to enable locomotion? How many bird, fish, bear, snake and whale dances have human beings created, and what does that say about us (rather than them)? How do animals use color to communicate? How do our projections of the world determine the questions that we ask? What happens when a human body is the vehicle to ask these questions and perform possible answers? Ideas, places and emotions can be simultaneously embodied, symbolic and metaphoric – all of which offer rich meaning and feeling for the audience to discover and experience for themselves. For me, this is the power of dance.
My artistic focus and creative process led me to collaborations with marine biologists and marine conservation organizations. Choreographic content is enriched and enhanced by current scientific research and understanding of local and global marine conservation issues. The goal is to perform these dances at natural history museums, aquariums, science centers and dance venues. Art and science communities share common interests, curiosities and perhaps even goals, but ask very different questions of subject matter and communicate in vastly different ways. I believe there is common ground for interdisciplinary communication, and that the performing arts can be one more bridge and add one more voice to the important and timely conversation about human impact on our environment.