The Pacific Index

Dance brings together elements of success

Kathleen Rohde

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Starting with a little idea, one senior was surprised at how large that idea could become. Senior Breanna Chandler presented and performed her senior project on Earth Day, a dance called “Elements of Man and Nature,” with the hope to promote positive thinking about the environment.

Chandler had been involved in environmental projects throughout her high school and college careers and dabbled in the dance realm as well.

“I never thought I’d come up with something like this,” said Chandler. “This is so personal and important to me.”

Chandler was originally planning to do a project on irrigation in vineyards and doing her “Elements of Man and Nature” on the side. But when her advisor mistakenly thought she was doing the dance for her senior project, Chandler dropped the vineyard project as soon as she got the “okay” from the Environmental Studies Department.

The most impressive part of her project, Chandler said, was the number of volunteers helping to make everything happen.

“I was shocked they all did this solely for the enjoyment of the project,” said Chandler.

She started off with five dancers, two musicians and two body painters. By the end of the project, the number of people involved had tripled. Chandler said that most of the volunteers heard about her project by word-of-mouth or from friends of friends.

Volunteers included her sorority, Alpha Kappa Delta, the Environmental Studies Department and ceramics classes, which donated clay so that Chandler and others could make “earth balls.”

These “earth balls” were a mix of marigold seeds that Chandler collected from the B Street farm last summer and the donated clay. The balls were spread around campus, B Street and brought home with various participants. Chandler said the balls were a part of permaculture’s idea of earth share. The “earth balls” created a way for participants to share community and share the earth.

With the choreography for “Elements of Man and Nature,” Chandler kept ideas set within permaculture. For example, and to many viewers’ surprise, at the end of the dance the elements, fire, wind, earth and water, all rested with the element of man.

“We share this earth,” said Chandler. “There are possibilities to make this work and not have man be the great divide.”

She hopes that one day this planet can find a cohesive understanding with man and nature. And Chandler said that it didn’t seem right to have the choreography represent man coming in and destroying all the elements on Earth Day.

Chandler said the dance was carefully choreographed and ended up being very symbolic for the group. The element of man did not practice with the group till dress rehearsal. The people representing the elements were thrown off by the introduction of man, said Chandler.

“It made sense of how abrupt man’s presence can be,” said Chandler.

But it starts with the little things in life as to how we can make the world a better place said Chandler.

“Yes, we can recycle, but starting small with fostering positive connections is how it’ll grow big,” said Chandler. “It’s the simplest step to change ones outlook.”

After college, Chandler said it doesn’t matter what she does as long as it’s something she can be passionate about. She also said she wants to create a connection of home and community.

“No matter what, I want to create a stronger community and connections around me.”

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Dance brings together elements of success