Reflecting the abysmal state of discourse in these times, Oxford Dictionaries dubbed "post-truth" as 2016's word-of-the-year. Truth is as important for art-making as it is for democracy.
In 2014, I was privileged to witness, and to dance on, Arctic sea ice. I spent 43-days on the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy with scientists learning about the process of sea ice formation and the causes of its precipitous decline. The extraordinary beauty of the icescape was inspiration for my work Ice Cycle and the program Bringing the Arctic Home which combines performance with educational programs about climate literacy and the arts.
This year has brought an unprecedented acceleration of polar ice melt--November is showing record low ice coverage in both the Arctic and Antarctic. The cause of this dramatic decline is anthropogenic climate change, the consequences of which are potentially cataclysmic to hundreds of millions of people. To deny the truth of what is happening is "criminally irresponsible," in the words of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
I will continue making dance work that investigates the relationship of the human body and the natural environment. Time Lapse Dance will continue to develop programs that combine choreography and climate science. We will continue our efforts to use our performances to provoke honest discussions about climate change, its effects on humanity and sustainable solutions.
Our planet's peril is just one of the many threats we face at present. Our freedom, our security, and our health are also at risk. We at Time Lapse Dance shall endeavor to combat the ascension of hate, bigotry, racism, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia by calling it out whenever and wherever we see it and by modeling decency and compassion for everyone in all that we do.
Dance is a global language with the power to engage people across cultural, ethnic, racial and economic barriers. Dance appreciation relies on kinesthetic identification, a kind of visceral empathy. When you see a dancer jump, you rise with her. When she tumbles you fall too. Empathy can be cultivated with practice. And, goodness knows, the world needs more empathy right now! As dancemakers we shall endeavor to do our best to support a practice of empathy amongst ourselves, our audiences, our students and our colleagues.
As a choreographer, I believe in the intrinsic power of dance to move people. As the Artistic Director of Time Lapse Dance, I will continue striving to make truthful and beautiful dances. I'm grateful to you for being there to witness and support the process. Thank you!
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving,
Jody Sperling, Artistic Director | Time Lapse Dance