Across the globe, humans struggle to find balance in our relationship with nature. How do we transform what has been a quest for dominance into a sustainable collaboration?
The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College launches its second annual SHIFT festival, a 10-day suite of live, arts, film and discussions that explore the push and pull of that Human/Nature bond. Witness humans contend and cooperate with the forces of nature in a stage version of Moby-Dick, a spectacle of physical theater by Australian company Circa, and film screenings with special guests that probe the oceans and night skies. Wander among human percussionists interacting with nature world in Inuksuit and celebrate nature through song in a pop-up chorus. The packed schedule is a mix of free and ticketed events.
This year, SHIFT is bookended by concerts by Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles and Iris DeMent—artists who join past and present and speak to what it means to be an American in 2019. It also includes the Dartmouth premiere of Dance Heginbotham, the acclaimed Brooklyn-based dance troupe led by John Heginbotham, director of the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble.
The performances in SHIFT will be enriched by a series of talks and master classes by Dartmouth scholars and visiting artists, who will unpeel various layers of how humans connect and impact the natural world. These include talks on energy, whaling, Melville and Americana music, as well as a discussion between Heginbotham and his collaborator, composer Tyondai Braxton.
Along with exploring big questions, SHIFT is also a great way to kick off summer in the Upper Valley, complementing the area’s wealth of opportunities to hike, bike, boat and otherwise enjoy the outdoors.
Tickets to SHIFT events go on sale to Hop members on Friday, April 26, and to the general public on Tuesday, April 30. SHIFT runs June 21 through 30 at locations in the Hop and on the Dartmouth campus. Tickets will be available at hop.dartmouth.edu or 603.646.2422.
Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles, Friday, June 21, 8 pm
“I believe that love will find a way,” sings Corey Henry. And he’ll make you believe, too. With his supple voice, soulful songwriting and chops on the Hammond B-3 organ, Henry “serves up a sermon of soulful bliss” (Denver Post) of R&B, Afrobeat, gospel and jazz. Graced with Grammy awards for his work with Brooklyn’s Snarky Puppy and his own namesake band, Henry has been called one of the finest organ players of his generation.
Moby Dick by Gare St. Lazare Players, Saturday, June 22, 8 pm
“For there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men, ” Herman Melville wrote in Moby-Dick. Compressing the novel’s details, characters and gigantic themes into one riveting night of theater, veteran Irish actor reels us into the harsh world of 19th-century whale hunting. In this battle with nature, the humans are determined to win–but at what cost?. This engrossing, one-man refresh of Melville’s 1851 novel is backed by 10-string fiddler Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh (of The Gloaming). An American literary anchor splashes on stage.
Public talks, 6:30 pm, Top of the Hop, FREE
June 22: Irving Institute director Elizabeth Wilson on the interconnected histories of energy and whaling
June 23: Professor Donald E. Pease’s acclaimed talk on Melville and the American Renaissance
A Portal to the Sky: Cinema and Space, Mon, Jun 24, 8 pm, FREE
Travel among the moon and stars with an evening of singular short films presented by Professors Jodie Mack and Dan Rockmore. Each film is an artistic celebration of the sky, space and worlds beyond, using real images as the source material.
Sing For the Earth, Tuesday, June 25, 8pm, FREE
Come sing together in gratitude for earth’s abundant beauty! In this program, you are invited to reflect on the relationship between humans and nature as the group reads through diverse short choral works related to nature, led by Handel Society director Robert Duff. Recommended for all singers 12 and up; sight-reading skills are helpful but not required.
Dance Heginbotham and Alarm Will Sound, Wednesday, June 26
Eight-member Dance Heginbotham brings its celebrated athleticism, humor and theatricality to live music by the 22-member new music band Alarm Will Sound (“original, vivid, reckless”-Los Angeles Times). DH is led by John Heginbotham, who also directs the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble and choreographed the acclaimed remake of Oklahoma that just moved to Broadway. The evening includes new Heginbotham choreography to selections from AWS’s new CD Acoustica—unprecedented acoustic versions of electronica—as well as his Hop-commissioned new choreography for composer Tyondai Braxton’s chamber work Common Fate.
Heginbotham and Braxton discuss their collaboration, June 26, 6:30 pm, Top of the Hop, FREE
The International Ocean Film Tour, Thursday, June 27, 8 pm
Swim among seething schools of sharks, ride the waves with adventurers transforming the sport of surfing, or cruise the world’s oceans with some “anti-Ahab” activists—protecting, not hunting, whales. The subjects of these films inspire you with their ardor for the oceans and adventure. Eco-activist Henry Lystad (formerly MountainFilm Tour Director) introduces each movie with insider details and naturalist knowledge.
Humans by Circa, Friday and Saturday, June 28 & 29, 8 pm, Sunday, June 30, 3 pm
Body, space, force and balance. In this heart-stopping nouveau cirque adventure that earned rave reviews on several continents, Australian circus artist/athletes test the limits of the human body. Forms fly through the air. Towers emerge and tumble. This virtuosic meditation on the body plays with the laws of physics, ratcheting up the tension between us and the space we move through.
Master class with Circa, Tuesday, June 25, details to come
Inuksuit, Saturday, June 29, 3 pm, Rain date: Sun, June 30 at 3 pm, outdoors & FREE
Wander through a landscape of instruments—conch shells, gongs, drums, glockenspiels and more—accompanied by the ambient sounds of nature. Named after the stone piles used by native people to orient themselves in Arctic spaces, Inuksuit was created by environmental composer John Luther Adams. This event will involve up to 99 professional and community musicians in an outdoor campus location. As they walk among the musicians, listeners shape their own experience, discovering the listening points that call out most to them. Directed by Dartmouth music lecturer Amy Garapic.
Want to clang, whistle or whirr or otherwise play in the band? Go to hop.dartmouth.edu for more information.
Iris DeMent, Saturday, June 29, 8 pm
Iris DeMent is a voice for an America seeking roots and meaning. As Cory Henry marries retro-funk with Afro-Futurism, so DeMent brings a modern sensibility to the timeless pentecostal gospel twang of her native Ozarks. Twenty-seven years after she pioneered what we now call “Americana” with her debut album Infamous Angel, she is still sharing powerful stories and shining a light into dark places.
Dartmouth musicologist Ted Levin discusses DeMent’s place in American music, June 29, 6 pm, Top of the Hop, FREE