Body of Water: A dance performance explores the power of water to unite

Gavenus, Erika | December 15, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Body of Water. March 3, 2015. Photograph by Kate Knepprath, Luther College Photo Bureau

Water issues run deep in the agriculturally-dominated landscape of Iowa, often dividing communities. However, as the Luther College dance performance Body of Water demonstrates water can also bring people together.

Body of Water emerged from a collaboration between dance professor, Jane Hawley, and biology professor, Jodi Enos-Berlage. The performance’s intentional merging of science and arts brought diverse groups –farmers, urban residents, scientists, artists, students, faculty, community members and leaders together as an audience united by their emotional connections to water.

The performance enlisted dance, music, colorful sets, and video interviews to portray the complicated story of water and the relationships we have with it. Audience members were encouraged to arrive early to explore a pre-performance exhibit sharing Enos-Berlage’s ongoing research occurring in the Dry Run Creek Watershed and learn about local water issues.

Enos-Berlage explained to Kate Frentzel with the Luther Alumni Magazine, “Water quality is a community problem and will require community-based solutions, and we wanted the performance to reflect that.”

Since opening for full-houses at Luther College in March of 2015, Body of Water has traveled to Grinnell College’s Arts and Sciences Summerfest and Iowa State University for Art of Water 2016. A film documenting the full-length original performance is currently available here. Both Hawley and Enos-Berlage are eager to share what they have learned from the process and to continue bringing emotional connections to scientific issues through collaboration. You can request a workshop or performance here.

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