Courtland Weaver, Choreographer
Jen Danielson, Costumes
Arvo Pärt, Music
Dancers: China Tokida, Amber Cramer, Katya Wise, Jasmine Hanley
Initially, this piece was titled “Disruption” as it was inspired by the reaction of elements within a system to a disturbance to that system. It came to mind when I attended the presentation on how fires unsettle even the most infinitesimal components of an ecosystem: i.e. changing water tables, changing what microbes will exist in soils and water, changing the flora that will eventually establish, and changing the fauna that will inhabit the area, etc.
While dance is not particularly effective at making symbolic connections to data, it can convey an array of complex human emotions and potently illustrate the effects sudden or drawn out disruptions wreak on a system. As such, “Disruption” was retitled “Bereft” and became a meditation on the five years my younger sister lived with ovarian cancer and the effect her death had on her five siblings.
“Fratres” is a series of compositions by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. It is the same music played on six different combinations of instruments. I’ve been interested in this concept for a number of years and chose his “Fratres for Cello and Piano.” Growing up I played cello and my younger sister played piano and it seemed a natural fit for this piece.
Jen Danielson, North Star Ballet Costume Coordinator and master knitter, has created a work that includes one glove for each dancer connected by yarn to all the other dancers. This ties each to the other, limits the distance, and increases the cooperation among the dancers, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all elements in the system. The dancers themselves are collaborators in this work, since the piece combines instances of premeditated choreography and improvisation, making each performance unique and dependent on the dancers’ interpretation of the prompts.
Several dancers worked on and helped develop “Bereft” who will not appear on stage. The list of all dancers is: Amber Cramer, China Tokida, Katya Wise, Jasmine Hanley, Autumn VanderLugt and Lex Zacheis.
The collaborative nature of all the scientists and artists associated with ITOC has been a source of inspiration. It fills me with awe and delight that great work is being done with such rigor, curiosity and dedication to the complementary disciplines of science and art.
Courtland Weaver studied ballet at the University of Utah on the Willem F. Christensen Scholarship. He danced with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, Ballet Arizona, Le Ballet du Rhin, and numerous companies throughout the United States and Europe.
He was Associate Director for Alaska Dance Theatre in Anchorage, Managing Director of Fidalgo DanceWorks in Anacortes Washington, and has been the Artistic Director of North Star Ballet in Fairbanks since 2014. Mr. Weaver oversees North Star Ballet School and all company productions, and collaborates often with local arts organizations.