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Dancing Earth's Walking on the Edge of Water

by Peter Handy
August 11, 2013
Battery Park
Near the southern tip of Manhattan
New York, NY 10004
www.dancingearth.org
Last Sunday afternoon on August 11, 2013, I had the good fortune of viewing a performance of Dancing Earth's, Walking on the Edge of Water, which was presented as a part of The 32nd Annual Downtown Dance Festival. This exquisite dance piece, which was expertly choreographed by Dancing Earth's Artistic Director Rulan Tangen, holds up a mirror to the destructive implications of modern humanity's exploitative relationship with water. The performance began with the dancers swiftly emerging from the rear of the stage; the dancers' movements were at times enchantingly fluid, at times rhythmically motivated. In general, the choreography was a unique combination of Native American and modern dance forms. These swirling and angular movements were well accentuated through the azure costumes that flowed gracefully with the pulsing yet harmonically evocative music. Indeed, the performance had an overall ritualistic tone that called out to the audience to respect the power and purity of water. We were given the opportunity to observe our archetypal counterparts in a mystical and life-affirming dance that is as alien and forgotten to the prevailing ethos of modernity as it is familiar to our intuitive sensibilities.

Walking on the Edge of Water illuminates humanity's ability to commune with nature while hauntingly highlighting the dangers that await us if we ignore this sacred pact. A billowing azure banner was wielded to symbolic effect; for me, it represented pure running water and exemplified the fragility of life. In certain sections, a foreboding voiceover has been tastefully integrated within the music and offers a counterpoint to the visual beauty of the dance. In parts of the piece, the performers donned gasmasks and utilized them in a manner similar to how the ancients once employed mask-work in their traditional rituals. No doubt - the implications of the gasmasks are: "it is not just the water, but even the air has become poisonous." There is also hope, however. Some Native American bowls emerge among a few of the dancers, and it is from these vessels that we bear witness to the communal nature of life. In an iconographic gesture of sharing, the dancers pantomime the pouring of water from one bowl to the next, and so on. It was at this point that we became aware that the water presented is not merely water, but also a symbol of love in its highest form.

Walking on the Edge of Water concluded with a unified bow to each side of the stage, and then each performer made a detailed and distinctive gesture that captured some intrinsic aspect of his or her essence. I was reminded of the Native American tradition of choosing names that embody a person's spirit. In this performance, Rulan Tangen and Dancing Earth offer a profound life-affirming message that inspires us to respect the sanctity of the bond that exists between the natural elements and all living beings.
DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as 'Voice of Water ' Artistic Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen

DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER
Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as "Voice of Water "
Artistic Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen

Photo © & courtesy of Neil Emond


DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as 'Voice of Water' Nichole Salazar (center) with company, in 'Invokation'

DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER
Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as "Voice of Water"
Nichole Salazar (center) with company, in "Invokation"

Photo © & courtesy of Neil Emond


DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as 'Voice of Water' Rulan Tangen as 'Ancestor of Water'

DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER
Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as "Voice of Water"
Rulan Tangen as "Ancestor of Water"

Photo © & courtesy of Neil Emond


DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as 'Voice of Water' Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar and Ria Thundercloud, in 'Sacred Water Women'

DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER
Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as "Voice of Water"
Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar and Ria Thundercloud, in "Sacred Water Women"

Photo © & courtesy of Neil Emond


DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as 'Voice of Water' L to R - Deollo Johnson , Lumhe Micco Sampson, Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes , Nichole Salazar, Shane Montoya in 'Broken Shell'

DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER
Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as "Voice of Water"
L to R - Deollo Johnson , Lumhe Micco Sampson, Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes , Nichole Salazar, Shane Montoya in "Broken Shell"

Photo © & courtesy of Neil Emond


DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as 'Voice of Water' Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes, Nichole Salazar and Ria Thundercloud in 'Broken Shell'

DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER
Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as "Voice of Water"
Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes, Nichole Salazar and Ria Thundercloud in "Broken Shell"

Photo © & courtesy of Neil Emond


DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as 'Voice of Water' Ria Thundercloud in 'Healing Ritual'

DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER
Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as "Voice of Water"
Ria Thundercloud in "Healing Ritual"

Photo © & courtesy of Neil Emond


DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as 'Voice of Water' L to R : Javier Fresquez, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Shane Montoya, Nichole Salazar, Lumhe 'Micco' Sampson

DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER
Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as "Voice of Water"
L to R : Javier Fresquez, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Shane Montoya, Nichole Salazar, Lumhe "Micco" Sampson

Photo © & courtesy of Neil Emond


DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as 'Voice of Water' center Daniel Arizmendi and Jesus Jacoh Cortes, with company in 'Purfication'

DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER
Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as "Voice of Water"
center Daniel Arizmendi and Jesus Jacoh Cortes, with company in "Purfication"

Photo © & courtesy of Neil Emond


DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus 'Jacoh' Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as 'Voice of Water' The Company in 'Healing'

DANCING EARTH, in excerpts from WALKING AT THE EDGE OF WATER
Full cast : Director/Choreographer Rulan Tangen, Nichole Salazar, Ria Thundercloud, Sandra Lamouche Yellowhorn, Deollo Johnson, Daniel Arizmendi, Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes, Shane Montoya, Javier Fresquez, and Sina-Aurelia Pleasant Soul-Bowe as "Voice of Water"
The Company in "Healing"

Photo © & courtesy of Neil Emond

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