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.
SHIFT Kick-Off: Fri, June 21
SHIFT…the Conversation: 5:30 pm, Loew Auditorium, FREE
Hear how the arts and sciences can work together in exciting ways! In this SHIFT keynote presentation, research ecologist Dr. Lindsey Rustad of New Hampshire’s Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest talks about integrating art and cutting-edge scientific research. Data sensors embedded all over Hubbard Brook offer a bounty of scientific material, and projects by renowned artists and Dartmouth faculty offer new angles on climate change, breaking open scientific research and communicating it in new and powerful ways. Come see what can happen when art and science merge.
Kick-Off Party: 6:30 pm, Maffei Plaza (Rain location: Hop Cafe Patio), FREE
Enjoy snacks and refreshments to celebrate SHIFT and the start of summer. Sustainability is a major theme, so plan to learn, create and interact with green themes throughout the party. RSVP by email to save your spot at the party.
Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles: Fri, June 21, 8 pm, Spaulding Auditorium
“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: Sat, June 22, 8 pm; Sun, June 23, 3 & 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
Sat, June 22: The interconnected histories of energy and whaling
Irving Institute director Elizabeth Wilson and Biological Sciences Professor Celia Chen discuss the fascinating anatomy of whales, particularly of sperm whales like the fabled Moby Dick, and how the natural oil reservoirs in their heads help them to hunt and communicate but also made them a prime target of the whaling industry (as chronicled by Melville) in the 18th century. Today, the search for oil and gas on the ocean floor brings sonic airgun blasting that interferes with the whales’ abilities to communicate.
Sun, June 23: Melville and the American Renaissance
Hear about the modern relevance and resonance of Melville’s novel Moby-Dick from Donald Pease, the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities and an international authority on 19th- and 20th-century American literature. A lecture hall legend for generations of learners at Dartmouth and beyond, Pease has lectured widely on Melville and other American writers of that era, including to audiences at Mystic Seaport and the Nantucket Whaling Museum.
A Portal to the Sky: Cinema and Space: Mon, June 24, 8 pm, Loew Auditorium, 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. Afterwards, join Astronomy Prof. Ryan Hickox for stargazing on the Maffei Plaza. There will be telescopes, late-night snacks and hopefully a clear sky to see Jupiter. BYOB—bring your own blanket!
Sing For the Earth: Tue, June 25, 8 pm, Spalding Auditorium, 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: Wed, June 26, 8 pm, The Moore Theater
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.
The Uncommon Collaboration of Common Fate: 6:30 pm, Top of the Hop, FREE
A conversation between John Heginbotham and Tyondai Braxton about their long artistic partnership and the origins and development this latest work.
The International Ocean Film Tour: Thu, June 27, 8 pm, Spaulding Auditorium
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: Fri and Sat, 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.
Public Master Class with Circa: Tue, June 25, 6–7:30 pm
Straus Dance Studio, Berry Sports Complex, $10
Learn about the building blocks of Circa’s incredible technique with its internationally renowned artistic director, Yaron Lifschitz. The class focuses on Lifschitz’s 4 Space Theory, a dynamic improvisational and dramaturgical toolkit. Expect to sweat, bend, run and leap while you encounter new perspectives on performance. For people age 16 and above with prior dance/movement experience.
Drop-in Circus Skills Workshop: Sat, June 29, 1-2 pm, Dartmouth Green, FREE
All ages and skill levels are welcome to come by and try their hands—and hips—at juggling and hula-hooping, under the tutelage of performers of the amazing Australian circus Circa.
Rain location Top of the Hop
Inuksuit: Sat, June 29, 3 pm (rain date: Sun, June 30 at 3 pm), BEMA Outdoor Amphitheater, 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.
Pre-Inuksuit Interactive Game
Sat, June 29, 1:30 pm (rain date: Sun, June 30 at 1:30 pm),Top of the Hop, Free
Play an interactive sound/landscape game, explained and demonstrated by its creator Lloyd May, a Digital Musics Masters student. After May explains Piler, which uses sound to create landscapes, try your hand at the game before heading over to see Lloyd and others perform in Inuksuit at the Bema.
Iris DeMent: Sat, June 29, 8 pm, Spaulding Auditorium
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.
DeMent’s place in American music: 6:30 pm, Top of the Hop, Free
Dartmouth musicologist Ted Levin discusses the place of country music in American music history, and Iris Dement’s place within that context.