Drift, a dance
As human beings we interact with our surroundings at every moment. The environmental crisis we are facing becomes more real, more palpable, and more urgent as each day passes.
Touching on such questions as environment, community identity, and sustainability in the face of whirlwind change, Drift offers artists, communities, and audiences a mirror and a drawing board on which to consider inevitabilities, choices and options for what gets left behind.
Commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Local Dance Commissioning Project in 2008, Drift is an original work by Dance Exchange company member Cassie Meador. The initial concept for the piece was inspired by Meador's visits to her hometown of Augusta, Georgia. Over time, a nearby plot of land was transformed from rich farmland to a strip mall, from the strip mall to the site of a Piggly Wiggly supermarket, from the Piggly Wiggly to what now is a place of worship - complete with the leftover electronic swinging doors of the supermarket.
By turns comical and wistful, the work offers the viewer an opportunity to look backward and forward in time. What happens to the earth? What happens to our homes? What becomes of the people who live and work in specific places? What do we leave behind for the future?
This rich theatrical portrait of people changing through time and space gives us a lot to look at and a lot to listen to. A table turns into a house with a roof; a cathedral archway melds into a series of grocery shelves. Heavy stones, grocery carts, tea cups, cereal boxes, and peaches drift around the stage space as colorful characters speak their minds and wear their life stories on their bodies. A clever set, enhanced by changing video vistas, transforms itself throughout. Period music from various decades transports us back and forth in time. Cassie Meador comments, "As a choreographer I have always been intrigued by the relationship between the physical and intellectual energy that sustains the artistic process. I place myself in the tradition of artists and scientists who actively engage their cognitive, creative and physical faculties in a multi-faceted process. My own choreographic process is inspired by the rigors of scientific discovery and exploration, by the geologists who hunt, gather, reconstruct and translate the sources and evidence of change in the world. In order to observe, experiment and study, they must leave their labs and traverse the fields and mountains. I believe the best dance-making also pulls us in and out of the studio to navigate the borders between known and unknown territory, reason and imagination."