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Using Dance to Communicate Issues of Climate Change

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license


Using Dance to Communicate Issues of Climate Communication


Amelia Rose Unsicker

Master of Fine Arts in Dance

University of California, Irvine, 2016

Assistant Professor Shaun Boyle, Chair

Climate change may be one of the most pressing issues of our time, and yet the topic is frequently communicated inadequately, using confusing jargon and Doomsday narrative. This often makes it difficult to understand the effects of climate change on human beings and what actions we should take. Dance has the potential to convey some of the emotional attributes of climate change, impacting the dancer’s awareness of issues and influencing audiences who watch that dance performance. History tells us that choreographers create works expressing issues of their time and several serve as examples for addressing social and environmental issues in their work . This research includes the artistic approaches of six American female choreographers: Anna Sokolow, Anna Halprin, Liz Lerman, Karole Armitage, Jody Sperling, and Cassie Meador. Interviews were conducted with Karole Armitage, and with University of California, Irvine Professor of Earth Systems Science Julie Ferguson. The science behind climate change is summarized, and the issues with climate communication are presented. Both live performance and screendance are introduced as forms for climate communication. As a whole, this paper supports my choreographic processes, the creation of a live performance and a screendance, all of which express my response to issues of climate change and human interaction with nature.

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