One River Mississippi will connect communities June 24
On June 24, the Mississippi Headwaters and six other Mississippi River sites will be joined in a simultaneous celebration. Itasca's performance will celebrate the area's rich and diverse history. The festivities commence at the Mary Gibbs Mississ...
On June 24, the Mississippi Headwaters and six other Mississippi River sites will be joined in a simultaneous celebration.
Itasca's performance will celebrate the area's rich and diverse history.
The festivities commence at the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center with a performance by the Itasca Bike Club and proceed to the Headwaters with a parade incorporating colorful banners and flags.
Children from the Northland Studio of Dance will participate in the event, performing a dance in the Mississippi.
At the river's source, boats and kayakers will join in the dances performed by local residents and Native Americans. The performance also will honor Mary Gibbs, who single-handedly stopped early loggers from destroying the beautiful pines that populate the park.
Local choreographer Elaine Hanson says, "It takes 90 days for a drop of water from the Headwaters to travel the length of the continent and empty into the sea. I am thrilled for the chance to help express the importance of this quintessentially Minnesota location that connects us to the rest of the US - and ultimately to the rest of the planet."
The One River Mississippi project brings together art, ecology and community through a colossal seven-city performance piece that will, for a few hours, transform the Mississippi River.
Downriver from Lake Itasca, the other sites will be the Stone Arch Bridge between Minneapolis and St. Paul; the Centennial Bridge in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois; the Missouri-Illinois Eads Bridge between St. Louis and East St. Louis; Mud Island at Memphis, TN; the site for Riversphere Center for Bioenviornmental Research at Tulane and Xavier universities in New Orleans and a location in Jackson, LA.
From its source in Itasca State Park to its mouth in Venice, LA, the big, many-hearted river becomes a canvas on which choreographers at all seven sites will present their unique responses to this vital national resource.
The One River Mississippi project aims to cultivate awareness of the Mississippi River, both locally and nationally as an interdependent environmental, economic and historic ecosystem.
Each choreographer or choreographic team at the seven predetermined sites will create a unique, locally based performance presented free to the public. Dancer auditions will be held at Northland Dance Studio in Park Rapids.
Each work will focus on the individual characteristics of the site and incorporate members of the community including dancers, environmentalists, artists and others.
As the river represents the physical link among the seven audiences, radio simulcasts will unite the performances in real-time up and down the river. Audio engineers will provide live interactive Internet feeds that will support a sense of interconnectedness. Each group will "speak," creating a seven-way "call and response," allowing audiences to experience their local segment as part of a larger whole.
This event has gained a new sense of urgency and commitment given the recent devastation downriver. Marylee Hardenbergh, who created the project and serves as artistic director, believes the event will help call attention to important issues.
"The Mississippi River is one unified ecosystem. What happens downriver affects what happens upriver. Changes on a microbiological scale impact larger species. The whole system is like a carefully balanced mobile."
C. Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, has been a supporter of the project since it was proposed early in 2005. "All too often we forget that our connection to the earth is a connection to each other," says Nagin. "These simultaneous site-specific performances will create a sense of interconnectedness that transcends our local communities."
Hardenbergh has been creating large outdoor site-specific performances for more than 20 years at such sites as wastewater treatment plants; aerial lift bridges; a clock tower on the Volga in Russia; and the bombed-out Parliament Building in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
One River Mississippi is funded in part by the Mc Knight, Quaker Hill and Puffin Foundations.