Humans have dreamed of flight ever since we started dreaming, but only in recent centuries has the dream become real. Choreographer Keely Shaffer-Glenn continues to dream, using that as a basis for "Gravity's Ripple III," the third annual site-specific work to be set and performed on the rolling hills behind the Dublin Arts Council building on Riverside Drive.
Humans have dreamed of flight ever since we started dreaming, but only in recent centuries has the dream become real. Choreographer Keely Shaffer-Glenn continues to dream, using that as a basis for “Gravity’s Ripple III,” the third annual site-specific work to be set and performed on the rolling hills behind the Dublin Arts Council building on Riverside Drive.
“At the core of this work is a question,” Shaffer-Glenn said. “‘How can a person fly?’ There are the obvious answers: hot air balloons, airplanes, jets and gliders. However, I am interested in the answers that we know to be impossible, but few of us have ever really tried physically experimenting with — like using paper airplanes, one helium balloon, or just flapping one’s arms quickly.”
These notions have led Shaffer-Glenn to “a lot of experimentation, play and ‘what ifs.’”
Shaffer-Glenn described the Dublin site on the Scioto as “a steep, sloping hill with gravity and momentum pushing the movement down toward the river. Hence, the dance and the audience’s perspective gradually move [their] way down the hill, eventually ending at the bank of the river.” With the focus on flight, however, “there is this constant battle to try to go upwards while the natural elements are pulling the dancers down. In this way, the landscape creates an interesting dialogue within the work between conforming to gravity and defying it.”
Before making her home in Columbus, Shaffer-Glenn earned her BA in dance education from Brigham Young University and her MFA in dance from the University of Iowa. Yet her two chief inspirations for “Gravity’s Ripple III” have little directly to do with dance itself: aviation pioneers such as Bessie Coleman, Amelia Earhart and the Wright brothers; and the watercolors of children’s book author and illustrator David Wiesner.
“[Wiesner’s] ability to capture motion in a still painting and take the readers on these adventures without words is delightful,” Shaffer-Glenn explained. In her work, she conjures images then attempts to approach them through movement. “Wiesner challenges me to dream up the impossible within the everyday and experiment with making it become a reality.”