LandLab: Dance Exchange

LandLab: Dance Exchange

2017-2018 Resident Artist: Dance Exchange

Dance Exchange is a non-profit dance organization based in Takoma Park, Maryland, known for innovative performance projects and creative practices that engage communities and partners across wide ranging disciplines. Dance Exchange creates performance engagements that speak to the issues of a place and the people that steward that place, collaborating to advance how individuals and communities come together to create change in the world. Cassie Meador is a choreographer, performer, educator, writer and Executive Artistic Director of Dance Exchange. Her works have tackled numerous social and environmental issues, like How To Lose a Mountain, which reflects on a 500-mile walk Meador took from Washington, DC to a mountaintop removal mining site in West Virginia to trace the impacts of the energy that fuel her home. Meador’s Moving Field Guides, an interactive outdoor experience led by artists, naturalists and regional experts in ecology, is being implemented nationwide in partnership with the USDA Forest Service.

During LandLab, Dance Exchange will explore Philadelphia’s waterways through movement exploration with visitors and local artists and scientists, culminating in installation and performance at the Schuylkill Center. Civilization begins and ends at the river’s edge. Where land meets water, many human stories are told, histories are revealed and concealed, futures are envisioned, debated, and denied. The history and future of the Schuylkill River is one central to the story of our country and of southeastern Pennsylvania, and the implications of our relationship to the river are vital to our understanding of how we continue to care for our environment. Through this residency, Cassie Meador, Executive Artistic Director of Dance Exchange, will begin a new project that explores the relationship between land and water. Meador will collaborate with Jame McCray, an interdisciplinary ecologist, and Zeke Leonard, an artist who mobilizes community-based sustainability efforts through interactive musical objects and installations. The creative team will use interdisciplinary dancemaking to move community members from a place of observation to participation to active stewardship.

Artists + Collaborators

Cassie Meador is a choreographer, performer, educator, writer and Executive Artistic Director of Dance Exchange. Her works have tackled numerous social and environmental issues, like How To Lose a Mountain, which reflects on a 500-mile walk Meador took from Washington, DC to a mountaintop removal mining site in West Virginia to trace the impacts of the energy that fuel her home. Meador’s Moving Field Guides, an interactive outdoor experience led by artists, naturalists and regional experts in ecology, is being implemented nationwide in partnership with the USDA Forest Service. Meador has taught and created dances in communities throughout the U.S. and internationally in Japan, Canada, England, Ireland, and Guyana. She has worked with the Girl Scouts to enhance environmental curricula through the arts. Her work with Wesleyan University’s College of the Environment has influenced educators and students to embrace a cross-disciplinary approach to conservation and environmental education.

Jame McCray is an interdisciplinary ecologist who explores the intersections between ecology, human behavior and the performing arts. While working on her PhD. in ecology and conservation she saw the need for interdisciplinary approaches when creating and implementing environmental policies. Also a dancer and choreographer, she
realized the performing arts could bridge the gap between scientific facts and the public consciousness. Jame, who helped us lead arts-integration residencies with educators and artists, brings the perspective of a scientist and artist and will help lead our measurement practices through the work she is doing around Delaware waterways.

Zeke Leonard is an assistant professor in the Syracuse University School of Design and a member of the Environmental and Interior Design faculty. His research involves the role of social responsibility and environmental stewardship in contextually-relevant design and fabrication practices. His ongoing project, Salt City Found-Object Instrument Works, mobilizes his community-based sustainability efforts through interactive musical objects and installations. Engaging this diverse team is necessary for the success of our project. Zeke, a long-time collaborator, brings a design practice that will lead the process in creating a site-responsive installation and that engages communities in conversations of sustainability and stewardship.

 

Snapshots of past work:

“How to Lose a Mountain” video: https://vimeo.com/74455441

How To Lose a Mountain, conceived and directed by DX Executive Artistic Director
Cassie Meador, shares some of the research from a multi-year project that explores our
relationship to the places we live and the resources we use and included a 500-mile
walk.

Site Visit and Workshop – October 2017