The New York Society for Ethical Culture presents the world premiere of Arbor, a free evening of ecologically themed works by its Eco-Artist-in-Residence, dancer-choreographer Jody Sperling, and her Time Lapse Dance ensemble. The residency is a unique and timely collaboration between the Society—whose mission is to encourage respect for humanity and nature and to create a better world—and Sperling’s company, whose mission is to deploy dance toward envisioning a more embodied, sustainable, and equitable future.
I cannot imagine a more restorative way to spend an hour and a half than in this earthy yet unworldly performance. Arbor is a meditation on the nature of trees. The work, which culminates two years of investigation, is the latest outgrowth of the long climate-engaged collaboration between Sperling as choreographer and environmental composer Matthew Burtner. The music will be performed live for this one-night-only event by the composer and a string quartet of musicians from The MET Orchestra.
In voluminous costumes meticulously painted with tree limbs (by textile artist Gina Nagy Burns and costume designer Mary Jo Mecca), the dancers spiral, billow, and encircle one another in gusts of action resembling timelapses of tree motion. Lighting is by Bessie-Award-winning designer David Ferri.
Friend of Arts Meme (F.O.A.M.) Karen Hildebrand, wrote of the show in Fjord Review, “Sperling was a master of stage presence as she evoked the deep-rooted majesty of the tree.”