The Liberate the Earth! Dance Project was a collaboration between choreographer Lynn Neuman of Artichoke Dance Company, Ruth Adams of Art Omi, a beautiful sculpture park, and DanceForce member Elena Mosley of Kuumba Dance and Drum. Lynn Neuman was chosen from three artists who had participated in Art Omi’s Annual Dance Residency Program. Lynn’s commitment to taking a stand on environmental issues and expressing them through dance is a unique and compelling artist statement. After several planning meetings in NYC, Art Omi in Ghent, NY, and at Operation Unite Education and Cultural Arts Center in Hudson, NY, Liberate the Earth! Dance Project was off to a great start.
Perfect 10, a program assisting middle to high school girls, was brought in as a new community partner. The Hudson Area Library, a returning partner, joined the project by offering their community room in their new location in central Hudson. A Wearable Art Workshop took place at the Hudson Area Library on Friday, May 26th. Participants created outerwear from plastic bags collected by the community. Thirty-four youth and adults were in attendance, the largest attended Kuumba DanceForce project workshop. Prior to Lynn getting everyone starting with the plastic bag costume process, Artichoke Dance Company members paraded through the library in magnificent plastic bag costumes attracting some amazed on-lookers to the workshop. The easy process and fun was only surpassed by the creativity of the participants. Following the workshop, all workshop attendees were invited to a Meet the Artist dinner hosted by Perfect 10, on the top floor of the same building. The informal gathering led to conversations about dance, being a member of a dance company, and the lives of each dance artists.
On Saturday, May 27, twenty-five participants had the opportunity to dance side by side with Artichoke Dance Company’s Movement Workshop, as they learned the opening and closing of Water Dances to be performed by Artichoke Dance. Once again, this was the largest attendance of a DanceForce-project dance workshop. This workshop took place in the Education Pavilion on an open space, low to the ground, wooden dance floor. Over 400 hundred people showed up on the opening day of Art Omi’s beautiful rolling hills and international artist sculptures, and to witness the community interactive dance workshop and performance of the community and Artichoke Dance Company. Some folks walked around the various acres of Art Omi and stumbled upon the performance, while others brought chairs and blankets and got comfortable for the performance. Following the opening community dance performance, Artichoke dancers were followed by the crown as they incorporated dance around and sculptures. The danced their way toward a pond and entered a glass house structure, while community dancers participated in the ending movement.