The concept of Body of Water evolved during a series of teaching partnerships between dance professor Jane Hawley and biology professor Jodi Enos-Berlage. Enos-Berlage’s multi-year water quality research project on a local impaired stream, coupled with Hawley’s use of the body to generate a movement vocabulary for dance performance, provided the collaborative elixir for this production.
Body of Water is an original performance that intermixes dance, music and video components. Art and science are intentionally interwoven to create an end product more powerful than the sum of its parts--a compelling example of what can be accomplished with the liberal arts. While the videos tell the story of the essentialness of water, its geographic connectivity, its chemistry and biology, the major pollutants that impact both surface and groundwater, and potential solutions, the dancers and musicians produce complementary and novel movements that provide the basis for emotional and human connection. Hours were spent interviewing various stakeholders about water--this informed the performance, and portions of their visual and audio clips are included. The reverence that Native American populations have consistently and powerfully exhibited for this precious resource inspired the work.
Body of Water was originally performed at Luther College to multiple sold-out audiences in March, 2015 (see Program in sidebar), and subsequently at the inaugural Grinnell Summer Arts Festival. To commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Iowa Water Conference, Body of Water will be performed at 7 p.m. March 23, 2016 at the C.Y. Stephens Auditorium, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.
The key features of the water molecule justify its distinction as the molecule of life. Water allows cells to form and all bodies to survive. Flowing water authorizes movement and existence. Every cellular body exists in an ecosystem that is dependent on water flow, from backyards to streams, rivers, the Mighty Mississippi, Gulf of Mexico, ocean, and earth. This performance reveals the sacredness of water in an intimate way, creating affection and reverence for this essential molecule of life. Current challenges surrounding water usage and quality will be examined, along with solutions that involve practices and people within the Dry Run Creek Watershed, Decorah, and the broader community. This production highlights how small actions by individuals accumulate into a powerful force, producing an outcome that benefits all.