CoMotion Dance Project to Present FIRE SPEAKS THE LAND

Fire science and Indian education for youth merges with the performing arts when CoMotion Dance Project presents FIRE SPEAKS THE LAND: An Active Audiences Performance. Performed for school students and families in Missoula, the 50-minute performance uses choreography, narration, and music to explore fire science, forest ecology, and traditional Native perspectives on fire. This beautifully crafted live performance has appeal for all ages and is expected to reach over 1,500 children and adults in Missoula.

Missoula County Public Schools will bus third- and sixth-grade students to the Montana Theatre for three performances: two on Monday, January 25 (9:45-10:35am and 1:00-1:50pm) and one on Tuesday, January 26 (9:45-10:35am).

Designed for K-6 students, FIRE SPEAKS THE LAND features five dancers, a narrator, unique scenery and lighting, and colorful costumes as well as several opportunities for the audience to participate in the performance both on and off stage. Students explore ecological issues relevant to our region through the combined lenses of fire science and Native American traditional practices. FIRE SPEAKS THE LAND is an artistic, narrated performance that both delights and informs.

SPARK! is a community-wide partnership working to expand arts programming in MCPS. They facilitate and foster connections among educators, local arts organizations, and teaching artists, helping to ensure access to the arts for all MCPS students. SPARK! is a national partnership site for the Kennedy Center's Any Given Child Initiative.

UM Professor of Dance Karen Kaufmann, 2014 recipient of the Montana Arts Council's Artist Innovation Award, directs the CoMotion Dance Project, an organization that promotes dance in K-12 education. Written and produced by Karen Kaufmann and Steve Kalling, the piece features choreography by Karen Kaufmann and Joy French, with live performance by five professional dancers: Allison Herther, Kaitlin Kinsley, Jordan Dehline, Ashley Griffith, and Joy French. Original music was composed and recorded by Steve Kalling and nine Montana musicians. Blackfeet musician and storyteller Jack Gladstone narrates the sound score.

Following the Missoula performances, CoMotion will perform FIRE SPEAKS THE LAND at the Choteau High School Auditorium on February 29 for 500 Choteau-area students; at the Helena Middle School Auditorium on March 2 for 1,100 fourth and fifth graders; and in Boise, Idaho, on April 7 and 8 for 1,500 school children.

The 2016 season of FIRE SPEAKS THE LAND performances and tours are supported in part by the University of Montana, Montana Cultural Trust, Public Value Partnership, U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Northern Rockies Fire Science Network, National Park Service Branch of Wildland Fire, Lewis and Clark National Forest, Montana Wilderness Association, Plum Creek Foundation, Cadeau Foundation, SPARK! Arts Learning, Missoula County Public Schools, individual schools, and private contributors.

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