Monday, June 29, 2015

Of Looms and Lilies: An experimental dance performance inspired by Thoreau’s phenology observations

Posted by Richard B. Primack

Recently, dancers from Weber Dance in Somerville, MA, have put on a new production, entitled Of Looms and Lilies. This work is inspired in part by the research of our group, as described on their website: “In 1845 Henry David Thoreau retreated to his cabin at Walden Pond in Massachusetts to experiment with a life of simplicity. He kept detailed records of his environment including when the pond froze and thawed and when each variety of plant bloomed in spring.” Weber Dance recognizes our work that “those same plants are blooming an average of three weeks earlier than they did in 1845. It is no longer disputed that human activity is contributing to climate change, so what have we gained and what are we losing?”

Weber Dance uses this material to develop an artistic investigation of the proliferation of material wealth generated by the industrial revolution and its effect on both our personal and spiritual lives and its wider impact on climate change. It is also a simple conversation between a nineteenth century factory worker and a contemporary woman. What might they say to one another? What might they learn?”

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