Dance Ex­change to present Re­mem­ber­ing Wa­ter’s Way at Schuylkill Cen­ter.

The Review - - FRONT PAGE - By Christina Catanese Christina Catanese di­rects the Schuylkill Cen­ter’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Art pro­gram, tweets @ Schuylkil­lArt and can be reached at christina@ schulkill­cen­ter.org. For more in­for­ma­tion on the en­vi­ron­men­tal art pro­gram, visit schuylkill­cen­ter

This week­end, the Schuylkill Cen­ter will be pre­sent­ing Re­mem­ber­ing Wa­ter’s Way by Dance Ex­change, the first site-spe­cific dance event that the cen­ter has com­mis­sioned in over a decade.

Dance Ex­change is a D.C.-area arts or­ga­ni­za­tion that has been one of the Schuylkill Cen­ter’s LandLab artists in res­i­dence over the past year.

Dance Ex­change’s work en­gag­ing in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties in dance­mak­ing and creative prac­tices is driven by th­ese four ques­tions: Who gets to dance? Where is the dance hap­pen­ing? What is the danc­ing about? Why does it mat­ter?

When they were selected for this res­i­dency, I was ex­cited to dis­cover what the an­swers to th­ese ques­tions might be in the con­text of our work con­nect­ing peo­ple with na­ture.

The cul­mi­na­tion of Dance Ex­change’s re­search and art­mak­ing will take place on Oct. 13 and 14 with an­i­mated hikes through our grounds that fol­low the story of wa­ter. Ex­plor­ing our ponds, streams, ero­sion-preven­tion ef­forts and im­pacts from re­cent storm events, th­ese hour-long ex­pe­ri­ences will weave to­gether per­for­mance, in­stal­la­tion, science en­gage­ments and more. Think guided na­ture walk punc­tu­ated by per­formed dance in the land­scape, with led op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­ter­pret in­for­ma­tion (both sci­en­tific and sen­sory) into your own body and in col­lab­o­ra­tion with oth­ers.

One of Dance Ex­change’s core beliefs is that any body can and should dance, which is why the dancers not only per­form for the au­di­ence but get ev­ery­one mov­ing — even those who claim to have two left feet. The artists guide us through ways to em­body the sci­en­tific con­cepts that we’re learn­ing about. They also value in­ter­gen­er­a­tional ex­change, so all ages are wel­come! The walk will pro­vide peo­ple across gen­er­a­tions an op­por­tu­nity to gain a deeper un­der­stand­ing of and con­nec­tion to their lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment and com­mu­nity. Through this im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence, par­tic­i­pants will ac­ti­vate their senses and ob­ser­va­tion skills through an artis­tic and eco­log­i­cal ap­proach to dis­cov­ery. Ac­tiv­i­ties are de­signed to move par­tic­i­pants along a path of recog­ni­tion, ap­pre­ci­a­tion and stew­ard­ship of the en­vi­ron­ment.

There will even be ways that the per­form­ers will con­trib­ute to our land restora­tion work through the process of the per­for­mance. The Schuylkill Cen­ter’s goal of the LandLab res­i­dency is for artists to en­gage au­di­ences in the pro­cesses of eco­log­i­cal stew­ard­ship through sci­en­tific in­ves­ti­ga­tion and artis­tic cre­ation. So we tasked th­ese per­form­ers to also cre­ate art-based in­stal­la­tions that pre­vent or re­me­di­ate en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age, and it’s ex­cit­ing to see how they have re­sponded to the chal­lenge.

The ti­tle, Re­mem­ber­ing Wa­ter’s Way, comes from a recog­ni­tion that the land has a me­mory of how wa­ter has flowed through it and how we can re­con­sider our re­la­tion­ship to the land to be guided by wa­ter, rather than try­ing to fight it. Over the course of the walk, many sto­ries of wa­ter will be ex­plored (lo­cally on the Schuylkill Cen­ter’s grounds and in the con­text of our re­gional wa­ter­shed), not least the im­pact of re­cent rains and ever-more in­tense storms that our re­gion has ex­pe­ri­enced this sum­mer.

As a dancer and chore­og­ra­pher my­self, I’m ex­cited by how we can use our bodies in na­ture to re­frame and ac­ti­vate a site. By po­si­tion­ing hu­man bodies in the land­scape and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it with all senses, per­haps we can start to see and feel our­selves as slightly more con­nected to na­ture, rather than sep­a­rate from it.

So, my an­swers to the Dance Ex­change ques­tions so far are 1) ev­ery­one; 2) any­where; 3) in­for­ma­tion from many realms out­side of dance; and 4) be­cause it helps bring us closer to that con­tent and to each other. But you may have your own an­swers (and more ques­tions) af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing their work.

Please join us for Re­mem­ber­ing Wa­ter’s Way this week­end. The walk will be of­fered four times over the course of the week­end: at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on both Satur­day, Oct. 13, and Sun­day, Oct. 14.

The guided walk will de­scend some el­e­va­tion; good walk­ing shoes are rec­om­mended. Keep an eye on the Schuylkill Cen­ter’s web­site and so­cial me­dia for any weather-re­lated changes.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO — SCHUYLKILL CEN­TER

Dance Ex­change will present Re­mem­ber­ing Wa­ter’s Way at the Schuylkill Cen­ter in Roxbor­ough Oct. 13 and 14.

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