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Family Fun: Dance project gives a different ‘Voice of the River’

UPDATED: Mon., June 7, 2021

 (Molly Quinn/The Spokesman-Review)
(Molly Quinn/The Spokesman-Review)

Mindi Sheer wants people to see how art can help them experience nature in a different way. Sheer, an ecologist and a community dance artist, is bringing “Art, Nature and the Voice of the River” to People’s Park on Sunday.

The event will tell the story of the salmon and the site through dance, spoken word and music. It will also tell the story of efforts to reintroduce salmon to the river. The Spokane Riverkeeper and Spokane Tribe will be part of the event.

The project is part of Global Water Dances 2021. Dances will be happening around the world throughout the week, with each community telling their own stories, but each event will also feature one dance created for the global event.

The audience will learn simple movements to join in that global dance at the end, Sheer said, “joining with others in their regard for water and their concerns for water.” “Water is always a big connector between people,” she said. “But also, dance is a big connector among people.”

The dances created for “Voice of the River” are site-specific works. “We kind of let the site decide what the choreography was going to be,” she said.

Sheer and others went to People’s Park many times to find inspiration in the landscape. Then, they worked on the dances in the studio before bringing them back to the park, where changes had to be made.

“It’s a pretty interesting process to know parts of the dance, then have to put it on the landscape,” she said. “We have to rake when we go out there, we have to pick up all the pine cones. … Things change every time we go out there.”

Dancing in nature is not an easy thing to do, she said. It’s also not common. “It’s really beautiful to see people move in a cohesive way in nature,” she said. “We’re actually trying to move and have it be beautiful because we’re there, bring out the beauty of where we are.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the day of the event.
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