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The Center at West Park presents Plastic Harvest Virtual Work-in-Progress Screening & Artist Talkback

December 15, 2020 @ 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

The Center at West Park presents a virtual work-in-progress screening of Plastic Harvest, followed by an artist talkback, on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 7pm ET. Plastic Harvest is a Covid-era dance film by choreographer Jody Sperling exploring the scourge of plastic pollution. Ironically, plastic is something we all share and that connects us across virtual spaces. We wear it, we swim in it, we ingest it, we even inhale it. Tickets are free, with a suggested donation of $10, and may be purchased at timelapsedance.com/events/plastic-harvest.

In 2020, Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Throughout the year, the company has been offering virtual and socially distanced programs, finding fresh ways to engage with audiences in a changing world.

“For 20 years, we’ve been investigating the relationship of the moving body to the world we inhabit through performance, media, education and activism,” said Jody Sperling, Artistic Director. “As we celebrate our 20th anniversary during these challenging times, we’ve been sharing virtual and socially distant programs that reaffirm our mission: that dance is a powerful force that can help move us toward a more embodied, sustainable and equitable future.”

In Covid’s wake, Sperling began rehearsing Plastic Harvest remotely with the six dancers of her company, Time Lapse Dance, who were newly dispersed across the country. Each dancer fashioned a unique costume for herself from plastic bags and investigated a different relationship to the material. 

In the film, one dancer luxuriates in a bathtub filled with plastic bags. Another glides, ghostlike, in a plastic-bag kimono through a church sanctuary. Sporting a plastic tutu emblazoned with yellow-smiley face, a third frolics amid traffic on a busy avenue. Ultimately, the work blurs the boundary between the precious and the expendable.

The music is by acclaimed environmental composer Matthew Burtner. The film features TLD dancers Frances Barker, Morgan Bontz, Carly Cerasuolo, Anika Hunter, Maki Kitahara, and Andrea Pugliese-Trager.

An artist residency at The Center at West Park has supported the development of this work. This work was also made possible in part by funds with Dance/NYC’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.

A New York City-based dancer-choreographer, Jody Sperling is the Artistic Director ofTime Lapse Dance. She has created more than 45 works and is the leading exponent of the style of early modern dancer and performance technologist Loïe Fuller (1862-1928). Sperling has expanded Fuller’s genre into the 21st century, deploying it in the context of contemporary and environmental performance forms. In 2014, Sperling participated in a polar science mission–as the first choreographer-in-residence aboard a US Coast Guard icebreaker–and danced on Arctic sea ice. Since then much of Sperling’s artistic work has focused on engaging with climate change. Sperling earned a World Choreography Award nomination for her work on the French feature film “The Dancer” (Dir. Stephanie Di Giusto, 2016 Cannes Film Festival). She was also commissioned to create new work featured in the forthcoming Fuller documentary “Obsessed with Light” (Dirs. Sabine Krayenbuehl and Zeva Oelbaum). Currently, Sperling is developing a dance practice called ecokinetics that cultivates the relationship between the moving body and environmental systems while providing strategies for climate-engaged artmaking. 

Matthew Burtner (Composer) (www.matthewburtner.com) is an Alaskan-born composer and sound artist who creates music from materials and data of climate change, particularly related to the Arctic. Burtner spent his childhood in the far north of Alaska and this profoundly shaped his musical language. He is a pioneer in the field of eco-acoustics and has worked extensively with systems of climatology applied to music. His work has recently been featured by NASA, National Geographic, the US State Department, Earther, and the Ringling Museum. First Prize Winner of the Musica Nova International competition, and an NEA Art Works and IDEA Award winner, Burtner’s music has received honors and prizes from Bourges (France), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), Darmstadt (Germany) and The Russolo (Italy) international competitions. He teaches composition and computer music at the University of Virginia, and directs the environmental arts non-profit organization, EcoSono (www.ecosono.org).

Time Lapse Dance (TLD), is an all-women 501(c)3 dance company founded by Jody Sperling in 2000. The company’s mission is to forge dynamic connections between dance and movements in culture, history, science, the visual arts, and music. The work aims to investigate the relationship of the moving body to the world we inhabit through live performance, educational programs, and media production. TLD has two special priorities. First, cultivating climate literacy through the performance of new choreography (for stage, screen or street) that echoes the natural world, and the programming of outreach that merges concepts and communication strategies from scientific and artistic practices. Second, advancing the legacy of Loie Fuller by reimagining the art of performance technologist Loie Fuller (1862-1928) in an innovative and environmental context through the creation of new performance, media, research, and publications, that resonate with the 21st century public. Since inception, TLD has presented 16 seasons in Sperling’s native NYC and toured to performing arts centers nationally and internationally. Along with performances, TLD offers outreach on arts/climate, family programs, workshops, and masterclasses. TLD has received commissions from Marlboro College/Vermont Performance Lab, University of Wyoming/NEA American Masterpieces, and the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics. The Center at West Park is a community performing arts center based in the historic West Park Presbyterian Church, a New York City landmark. This performance is presented as part of the Center’s new Virtual Performance residency program, which provides artists with safe and socially-distant space for media production, marketing and fundraising support, 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales and donations, and connection to an interdisciplinary creative community. Learn more at www.centeratwestpark.org.


December 15, 2020
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM