On Sunday, January 5th at 4:00pm, Dance Exchange presents FROM THE DESK OF RACHEL CARSON, which celebrates the life, career and legacy of environmentalist Rachel Carson as part of Dance Place's Modern Moves Festival at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. For the past few months, I've been collaborating with Cassie Meador (Artistic Director and Choreographer), Ouida Maedel (Production Manager), Stowe Nelson (Sound Designer), Cheryl Patton Wu (Costume Designer) and Ben Levine (Lighting Designer) along with dancers Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey, Carli Mareneck, and Dance Exchange Resident Artists Shula Strassfeld and Matthew Cumbie to bring this devised work to life.
As many of you know, I grew up in a farming community in East Texas, where there were more cows than people. We had chickens and goats, and I spent a summer learning how to train horses. Each year, we grew a large vegetable garden and had several fruit trees in the yard: pear, peach, cherry and pomegranate. When I was young, I was fascinated by insects and snakes and climbed trees like the Von Trapps! I loved reading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife newsletter and tried to learned the names of as many birds, trees, and wildflowers as I could find.
As I got older, I never lost my love for the nature. I remain passionate about the environment, and about efforts of conservation and renewal. I first read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring years ago while serving as dramaturg on a play with Active Cultures Theatre. I was moved by Carson’s passion, intelligence and insight for the environment. When first published, her work was controversial. Many tried to discredit her and her findings, but she was well-researched, thorough and wrote about facts. I admired her strength, determination and tenacity.
As I consider the role and impact that advances in science have had on our lives, I am struck by its duality: there is immeasurable good and irreversible damage. For instance, if it were not for the coal fueled Capitol Power Plant that provides steam and cooled water for the United States Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and 19 other buildings in the Capitol Complex, I probably wouldn't need daily doses of three medications just to breathe. While it's never simply a question of whether the good or convenient outweighs the bad or destructive, there is an undeniable price to progress of advancements of science and technology.
This complexity is what makes Dance Exchange's From the Desk of Rachel Carson such an important, powerful and worthwhile work. It’s a story that must be told. We have a responsibility to do as much as we can to repair the damage done to environment, so that those who live after us will be able to enjoy the splendor and wonder of the world.
The Modern Moves Festival showcases twelve world-class contemporary dance companies that call DC home, each with different points of view. Experience the rich field of modern dance in the Greater DC Metropolitan area!
Modern Moves Festival
Sunday, January 5 at 4:00pm
At the Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Saturday, January 4 at 8pm: alight dance theater, Bowen McCauley Dance , Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Company , Daniel Burkholder/The PlayGround , Human Landscape Dance
Sunday, January 5 at 4pm: Company E, Dance Exchange, Jane Franklin Dance, Naoko Maeshiba/Kibism , Rebollar Dance, VTDance/Vincent E. Thomas
For venue transportation and parking details, click here.
For information about the entire festival, click here.
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Dance Exchange is an intergenerational company of artists that creates dance and engages people in making art. We serve as an incubator for creative research, bringing ideas to action through collaborations that range from experts in the field of dance to unexpected movers and makers. Through these exchanges we stretch the boundaries between the studio, stage, and other environments to make dances that are rooted in the particularity of people and place. We recognize the body and movement as an essential resource to understand and investigate across disciplines. Through local, national, international, and online projects we gather and create community to contribute to a healthy and more sustainable environment.
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!