How religious leaders, a modern dance troupe, artists and musicians came together to raise awareness about climate change as it affects bodies and the earth
Make the Earth dance.
Two churches, a local modern dance troupe, and an array of artists and guest speakers have come together to create a week-long environmentally themed performance event, “Body And Land: Exhibition For Eco-Justice “.
The event, which begins on Saturday, has lasted more than a year and is anchored by dance performances from Middletown’s Ekklesias Contemporary Ballet and an immersive visual art experience designed by Stephen Proctor. It’s scored to Vivaldi’s music and accented with different talks or readings every night throughout the nine performances at Hartford’s Christ Church Cathedral at 45 Church St., recently renovated to be more of a performance-friendly space.
“It’s pretty amazing. It’s hard to put into words,” says Reverend Mary Barnett of Holy Trinity Church in Middletown, who co-hosted ‘Body and Land’ with Very Reverend Miguelina Howell and Ekklesia Artistic Director Elisa. Schroth. Barnett, who had her own experimental dance troupe in the New Haven area in the 1980s and 1990s, applied for the $22,000 National Creation Care Grant from the Episcopal Church that made “Body and Land” possible.
Barnett notes that Holy Trinity Church has strongly embraced environmental issues, including a promise to “care for creation” that has been added to baptism ceremonies. The church also provides the Ekklesia Troupe with studio space, so they were the first artists enlisted for the project. Schroth brought in environmental visual artist Proctor.
Ekklesia’s dance piece, performed every day of the race except Tuesday, takes up 15 minutes of each hour-long performance. Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” is used to “look at climate change through a seasonal lens,” says Barnett. There are also contributions from composer Scott Simonelli and poet Kwamena Blankson.
All Week, says Barnett, uses the arts, especially dance, “to help raise awareness of a serious topic in a way that can move people. It’s about climate change as it affects our bodies, as well as land areas. We bring together all art media to really [bring] raise awareness and also celebrate the environment.
Among the events specific to each performance:
Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m.: Theologian Ellen Davis.
June 6 at 7 p.m.: A monologue presented by Hartford Stage, directed by Zoë Golub-Sass.
June 7 at 7 p.m.: Music by Cuatro Puntos and guest speaker Sam Fuller.
June 8 at 7 p.m.: A “Dialogue on the Intersection of Social/Racial Justice and Creation Care” with Canon Ranjit Mathews and the ECCT Racial, Justice, Healing and Reconciliation Network.
June 9 at 7 p.m.: Cathedral music and poetry by Dr. Lindsay Rockwell.
The performance on June 10 at 7 p.m. and the student matinee on June 11 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. have no additional items announced outside of dance and art.
On June 12 at 10:00 a.m. there is a closing Eucharistic service with the Barnetts and Howells officiating as well as guest preacher, Reverend Stephanie Johnson.
Admission is free for all performances. For more information and to register for free tickets, go to cccathedral.org.
Christopher Arnott can be reached at [email protected].