Playing at: Atlas Performing Arts Center: Lang Center
Remaining Performances: July 12 at 9 p.m., July 16 at 7:30 p.m., July 17 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets available here.
They say: GLACIER: A Climate Change Ballet unveils a world affected by climate change by placing a changing Arctic environment in front of the audience. The dancers ripple, crack and plunge—embodying the science behind icecap collapse—in discrete segments inspired by different types of polar ice.
Robin’s Take: In this climate change ballet, audience members can expect to see way more than just ice melting on stage, though that’s technically what it’s about. The dancers elegantly portray the struggles of Arctic nature and the environmental consequences that climate change exerts on landscapes and wildlife dependent on ice.
Choreographer Diana Movius, who is an international climate policy expert, portrays her background in a beautiful and sad depiction of the melting ice caps affected by climate change.
The dancers twirl on stage—clinging together and being torn apart—in rhythm with icebergs cracking and melting on a large screen behind them. The background screen, with video by Robin Bell, displayed patterns of the dancers below, multiplied, scattered and distorted above them in some scenes.
Daniel Cooke’s “Polar Bear” scene produces a heart-wrenching effect, as dancers’ movements show the animal’s struggle to function with its shrinking and melting environment. In front of a full-size, point-of-view shot of a polar bear swimming through the ocean with the closest icy land seeming as far away as the sunset, Cooke performs animalistic movements, embodying the desperation of the the arctic creature.
Cooke falls over several times as he gracefully crawls around the stage. As the bear above swims through the water and makes his way to land, Movius has Cooke scan the audience multiple times as if looking for help.
The music—put together by Max Richter, David Lang, and Andrew Thomas—is, at times, deep and dramatic to demonstrate the urgent danger of the melting ice caps. Other sounds are shrill or somewhat resembled the ticking of a clock, to show time running out for the arctic ice.
As the only performer wearing color in the show, Therese Gahl‘s stunning solo during a scene entitled “Meltaway” dazzles: Gahl dances in a blue dress, mystifing the audience as she masterfully twirls away from spotlights appearing across the stage.
GLACIER: A Climate Change Ballet leaves a sentimental message to viewers about the natural world in danger because of global warming. The full performance shows a romantic landscape of the Arctic environment—reminding viewers of the real magic being lost as climate change deteriorates the ice caps.
See it if: you like ballet and nature
Skip it if: you get bored without dialogue