“In this Place”: Dancing Urban Greening
“In This Place” is an interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty and students. Collaborators for the piece include Jeanine McCain, Assistant Professor of Dance, Dr. Garrett Hope, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music, and Dr. Patrick Hurley, Associate Professor and Chair of Environmental Studies, as well as eight student collaborators who will perform a piece intended to investigate the collective role that humans have in impacting our environment and to bring about greater awareness and personal reflection on the subject.
The collaboration is rooted in Dr. Patrick Hurley’s research on community commons, urban nature, and food-growing traditions of African Americans in West Philadelphia. The foundation of this work lies in the reclamation and restoration of vacant urban lots, particularly in the Haddington neighborhood, and the introduction of new forms of community use and stewardship. Dr. Hurley’s research follows the work of Urban Tree Connection, an organization that is successfully transforming neglected urban spaces, and it highlights the social and environmental transformations that occur as a result of this renewal process.
Repertory students are studying Dr. Hurley’s research as a base for artistic inspiration, with a focus on the community process of restoring control and growth where there was once disorder and decay. As part of the collaborative process, students will also visit the Urban Tree Connection site in the Haddington neighborhood. The performance piece will be grounded in movement motifs that are inspired by images of the urban spaces, as well as actual objects that reflect the transformation process that occurs in these neighborhoods. The creative work is also inspired by words from neighborhood residents captured through oral history interviews by Ursinus Environmental Studies students.