October 22, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Dance Review: ‘Walking at the Edge of Water’

" 'Walking at the Edge of Water'...is a sensual feast for eyes and a balm for the spirit"

By Greta Chapin McGill

Santa Fe Fashion and Style

Greta is an artist, writer and renaissance woman

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The Lensic Performing Arts Center was the venue for "Walking at the Edge of Water", a new performance by Dancing Earth Creations. Founding Director, Rulan Tangen presented a visually stunning presentation captivating the mind and the senses. Representing 21 tribal nations, Dancing Earth is internationally renowned.

Tangen is living a journey centered around her art. A cancer survivor, she has translated Dancing Earth Creations into America’s foremost indigenous contemporary dance ensemble. Drawing on two decades of experience in professional ballet and modern dance spiced with pow wow, she works to revitalize her cultural practices through de-colonizations of dance theatre. Her work is distinctively respectful of feminine leadership. Tangen was honored with the first dance fellowship for artistic innovation by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundations Visiting Distinguished Scholar at Washington University.

"Walking at the Edge of Water" takes the viewer on a clear journey beginning with a prayer. The concept of the dance is “healing the Waters of our bodies, minds, emotions and spirits, and the Waters of our planet” says Tangen. In the first act, you are taken in immediately by the serious prayers offered to the feminine source of all life, the center of all creation stories. The dancers bring to life a beautiful mystic story of the earth’s water with a blue sheer fabric carried by the dancers in a wavelike motion flowing over seeming the stage with a life of it’s own. The female spirit nurtures the people with life and sustenance. The earth is balanced and peaceful through the purity of the water. The happiness of the people is obvious by the harmonious sensuality conveyed by the dancers.

The second act is about the destruction mankind has wrought over the land. The pollution of the waters. The dancers wear tattered clothing, gas masks and confusion and chaos are prominent themes in this part of the performance. A structured chaos allows you to see how technological advances, making life more connected, have also served to make life disconnected to what the land provides naturally. Tangen awakens the ancestors to cleanse the planet, the people, and most of all the water. Through pure love, respect and gratitude the earth is healed.

"Walking at the Edge of Water" ends with the entire cast converging on the audience. You are invited to participate in the earth-cleansing ritual you have just witnessed on stage. The entire theater is filled with a mist and there is no stopping your inner being becoming involved as the dancers pass among the audience. It is a powerful ending to a stirring evening in the theatre.

Seeing this dance company will always inspire me. I was rooted to my seat and there was no denying the emotion and passion it evoked in me. I encourage anyone to see this amazing performance. "Walking at the Edge of Water" presented Dancing Earth Creations and choreographed by Tangen is a sensual feast for eyes and a balm for the spirit.

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