‘Fire Speaks the Land ’: Dance performance set for area schools

Fire science education for youth merges with the performing arts when the University of Montana, CoMotion Dance Project performs Fire Speaks the Land: An Active Audiences Performance. Eight school performances will be conducted for K-sixth grade students during the week of March 10-14 at Clearwater Valley, Kamiah, Timberline, Orofino, Troy, Deary, Lapwai and Grangeville elementary schools. The 50-minute performance uses original choreography, narration and music to explore fire science, forest ecology and traditional native perspectives on fire.

Fire Speaks the Land features five dancers, a narrator, scenery and lighting, colorful costumes as well as several opportunities for the audience to participate in the performance, both on and off stage. Students learn about ecological issues relevant to our region through an artistic, narrated performance that both delights and informs.

Karen Kaufmann, 2014 recipient of the Montana Arts Council’s Artist Innovation Award, directs the CoMotion Dance Project, an organization that promotes dance in K-12 education. Written and produced by Karen Kaufmann and Steve Kalling, the piece features choreography by Karen Kaufmann and Joy French, with live performance by five professional dancers: Allison Herther, Kaitlin Kinsley, Katie McEwen, Ashley Griffith and Joy French. Original music is composed and recorded by Steve Kalling and nine Montana musicians. Blackfeet musician and storyteller Jack Gladstone narrates the sound score.

The Fire Speaks the Land tour in Idaho was funded by the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests and the North Central Idaho Fire Prevention Cooperative (NCIFPC). The NCIFPC received a grant through Idaho FireWise in support of the performances. The Lapwai Elementary performance was funded by the Nez Perce Tribe, Forestry & Fire Management Division. Additional support comes from The University of Montana, Montana Cultural Trust, Montana Arts Council, Public Value Partnership, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Cadeau Foundation, and the USDA Forest Service Missoula Fire Sciences Lab.

Contact Courtney Couch at the Kooskia Ranger Station at 926-4274.

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