Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 15, 2012.


Asian Carp are coming! A dance study of this pressing Great Lakes problem and Chicago's big chance to right a water-flow wrong.

Greetings Friends! The second annual LakeDance Waterfront show is in the works.

LakeDance is a hybrid between Dance and the study of Lake Michigan. During the school year it delves in-depth into the Great Lakes ecosystem in Evanston area schools. During the summer, it blows open into a world of story, symbols, music and movement.

This year’s project will be a dance performed by a cast made up primarily of students from the school year LakeDance activities. It will be a study piece, meaning the product you see will be one based on research surrounding this year's theme, Flow: Reversed. This title refers to a piece of local history. In 1900, under cover of darkness, the City of Chicago completed the digging of a controversial canal that would reverse the flow of the Chicago River to go from its natural outlet into Lake Michigan to be channeled, instead, into the newly dredged drainage canal that emptied south toward the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean. This feat of engineering connected two naturally distinct Watersheds*: the Great Lakes Watershed and the Mississippi Watershed.

This was done to salvage Chicago’s drinking water, whose intake was perilously close to a growing river of animal carcasses and human waste!  However, the controversial reversal of the river has devastating implications now as the Asian Carp move north along the Illinois River, swimming upstream through the canal and into the Lake.

How and Why will this be translated into dance?

I will begin by watching the young dancers respond to the study material in writings, drawings, and gestures. I will then combine choreography with improvisational structures and music to tell the tale of Flow: Reversed. Why? Well, I am a dancer and teacher and so this is my medium. I want to use my art to draw attention to this issue and provide kids and adults with the knowledge that will hopefully create in them an informed sense of responsibility when decisions need to be made (whether or not to re-reverse the flow of the river.) I hope this piece will alarm and awaken people to the reality that Chicago doesn't recycle its water. That's really a shame, and it needs to be fixed!

Where will the money go?

Money from your Kickstarter donation will be used primarily as artist compensation. In addition to the 8-10 young performers who deserve a stipend, there will be a team of adults choreographing, composing and stitching costumes. Materials must also be bought, but thankfully much can be found, repurposed or thrifted. 

What is going on right now to prepare?

At present, I am in a lively phase of research. I’m in the midst of a 6 week artist-in-residency at an Evanston Elementary School. Seventy fifth-graders and I are exploring the history of the Great Lakes Watershed and especially Chicago’s waterways.  We have made models of our watershed using tinfoil, construction paper, and most recently, sand. Seeing the excitement in this group of students and hearing their questions and ideas is helping me shape the focus and activities for this summer’s Flow project. *A Watershed is an area of land, like a basin where all the water that enters it, from flow or precipitation, ends up in the same place, be that underground or in a lake. 

Why is this so important?

Many believe that future wars will be fought over water. While millions in the world now drink unsafe water, we who live adjacent to the world's largest source of surface freshwater continue to defend our right to buy bottled water while private corporations vie for the rights to public water. Our lives are visibly and invisibly interwoven with the Great Lakes Watershed. Now is the time to act in way that reflects an awareness of the global water situation and to acknowledge the importance of our responsibility to our Great Lakes. There's much to be done in Chicago since the city is effectively draining billions of gallons a day of precious Glacial melt down the Mississippi, all through a human-made diversion. I mean COME ON! Thankfully, I am not alone in my alarm at this situation. But we must all take up this essential cause. THANK YOU for joining me!!!!!!!


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    Nifty Square pin of kid-art proclaiming, "Prevent Water Wars!" (See image at the very bottom of the section on the left.)

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    Signed poster from the show plus nifty pin.

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    Pin, signed poster, and recent album created by Reverend Ruin and the Wreck Angel featured at the end of the video. (Wreck Angel aka Clare Tallon Ruen)

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    Clare-made Lake Superior agate necklace or Lake Superior driftwood/Native metal fringe wind chime. (With the option of also receiving the above rewards)

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    One hour presentation about the Great Lakes Ecosystem in your school/business/place of worship! (Travel cost will be added if it's beyond a 3 hour drive from Chicago.)

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    Chef-prepared Asian Carp dinner for six, in your home! (One less in the river!)

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