UM’s CoMotion Dance Project to Perform Climate Science Piece for Middle Schoolers

September 06, 2016

MISSOULA – Area sixth-graders will experience a special treat on Thursday, Sept.15, when the University of Montana’s CoMotion Dance Project performs two interactive dance performances, which will take place in the Montana Theatre in UM’s Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center.

The first show is from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m., and the second is from 12:40 to 1:40 p.m. The public is invited, and organizers say there are more seats available at the later show.

The CoMotion Dance Project was commissioned by the Glacier National Park Conservancy to create “Changing Balance/Balancing Change,” a new, interactive performance that examines climate science and current and predicted changes impacting our planet. Using visible changes in Glacier as a fulcrum, the piece communicates basic understandings about climate change in the Northern Rockies and provides a framework for dialogue. It premiered in Glacier in July.

Next Thursday’s show is the first Missoula performance and is geared toward middle school students. Sponsored by SPARK! Arts Ignites Learning and Missoula County Public Schools, the hourlong performance integrates arts and science with live interactions with the audience.

“Changing Balance/Balancing Change” weaves artistic dance, original music, choreographed narration, video projection and audience interaction into an immersive arts experience designed to engage audiences with the ideas and emotions at the heart of climate change. Developed for audiences of all ages, the piece includes content such as rate of temperature change, greenhouse gases and positive action humans can take in response to the realities facing our planet.

The active-audience approach provides innovative methods of engaging audiences and emphasizes the value and role of attention, patience and creativity as we, and our world, move into the shifting balance of our dynamic climate.

Performed by professional dancers Jordan Dehline, Ashley Griffith and Kaitlin Kinsley, and UM dance students Logan Prichard and Charlie Wiseman, “Changing Balance/Balancing Change” was written and produced by UM dance Professor Karen Kaufmann and Steve Kalling, with guest choreographers Nicole Bradley Browning, Heidi Eggert and Joy French. Western Montana musicians composed and recorded the soundtrack, which is narrated by Jack Gladstone, Jeff Medley, Teresa Waldorf, Rosie Ayers and Lily Gladstone.

“Changing Balance/Balancing Change” is made possible by the following sponsors: SPARK! Arts Ignites Learning, Missoula County Public Schools, Glacier National Park Conservancy, Glacier National Park, the Montana Cultural Trust, UM, the Cadeau Foundation, U.S. Forest Service-Rocky Mountain Research Station and the CoMotion Dance Project.

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Contact: Karen Kaufman, UM dance professor, 406-243-2870, karen.kaufmann@umontana.edu.