(Gainesville, GA.) The Brenau University Department of Dance presented Dancing in the Arctic, a performance, panel discussion, and question-and-answer panel on Friday, Feb. 26 at the Brenau Downtown Center. Guest artist-in-residence and choreographer Jody Sperling hosted and choreographed the event.
Sperling greeted the audience with a presentation explaining the circumstances that brought a unique opportunity into her life. Two years ago, Sperling was invited to join a polar science mission in the Arctic Circle. For several weeks, Sperling was the choreographer-in-residence on a United States Coast Guard icebreaker ship. While the research team conducted studies on the ice formations, Sperling interpreted the landscape, choreographed a dance and filmed the process.
Earlier this month, Sperling shared her experience with the Brenau University Department of Dance. Dancers Melinda Cassiday, Annie Fox, Paris Hawkins, Kelsey Lyle, Sara Sharples, and Asia Welch performed following Sperling’s introduction. Costume designer Mary Jo Mecca donned the dancers in silk capes that helped capture the movement and shape of water and various ice formations found in the Arctic. The performance was accompanied by live music from Klimchak who incorporated a variety of unique instruments to depict the haunting, dreamlike sounds of the Arctic.
After the performance, Spurling led a panel discussion with Brenau faculty members Dr. Andrea Birch, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Humanities and Professor of Philosophy; Dr. Rudi Kiefer, Professor of Physical Science and Director of Sustainability; Jessi Shrout, Assistant Professor of Biology; and Rachel Shaw, Adjunct Professor of Dance. The panel shared their thoughts on the intersection of science and art. The topics of climate change and preservation were also discussed.
The next event hosted by the Brenau Department of Dance includes Beauty and the Beast and repertory works from guest artists beginning Thursday, March 17 and ending Sunday, March 20.