Lillie Park North, a Pittsfield Township Park, 4365 Platt Road, Ann Arbor MI 48108
Date and Time
June 20, 2015 at 4:30-5:30 pm
Lillie Park Lake
Christina Sears-Etter is a performer, choreographer, educator, and writer. She relishes somatic connections through dance and movement, and has a passion for improvisation, musicality and innovation in the art of dance. She is Artistic Director of People Dancing since 2000, and teaches in the community and in higher education. She earned a BA from University of Michigan, and worked professionally in London, New York City, and Baltimore, Maryland, prior to moving to Michigan. She holds an MFA degree from State University of New York College at Brockport. Recent choreography has been presented in the Caribbean, Europe, and the USA. Christina has recently been a guest artist with Sameer Reddy and DLEctricity Festival ( @MOCAD Detroit,) Eastern Michigan University, Kristi Faulkner Dance, Lisa LaMarre and Dancers, and Shawn Bible of STB Dance NY. She is a Somatic Yoga teacher and has taught somatics for many programs, including ACDFA, and University of West Indies, Campus at Cave Hill. Christina is available for Guest Artist Positions, Workshops, Adjudications and Coaching/Consulting. For information please visit www.peopledancing.org and/or christinasearsetter.net.
History of Site and Related Water Issues
Only an abandoned gravel quarry a short time ago, this new park provides sweeping vistas, two lakes, accessible nature trails, a fishing dock, wildlife observation, forest management education, and much more. The 124-acre facility, located just south of I- 94 at Platt Road and Ellsworth Road, provides a great variety of recreational choices. Funded in part by three DNR grants, the park contains 2.5 miles of trails, and facilities for picnicking and soccer.
Source: http://pittsfieldhistory.org/index.php?section=sites&content=parks_pittsfield This site is an excellent example of conservation, as it was developed from an abandoned industrial site–a quarry.
Our dance investigates themes of reduce, reuse and recycle and explores how critical the water cycle is to human survival.
“Oceana” by Gabrielle Roth and the Mirrors. There may be a second selection from another artist, TBA.
We prepared for weeks through our SOMAdance class. Sunshine streamed in warming our gray cool-to-the-touch marley floor. We worked with props, using mirrors to coordinate ourmovements. We found the structure together. Young dancers watched at the windows, their energy and enthusiasm adding to the work.
Outside, we modeled sea-foam green outfits from a generous donor. Melissa Durante and Cathy Taister joined me as the lead cast. Fransoir Merriweather joined later, bringing her improvisational flair dancing to a poem by Yma A. Johnson, published author, poet and journalist.
At the site, slightly concerned about audience, what with conflicting graduations and family trips, we found five families who were interested in participating: a chamber-sized performance! Multiple children participated, including a few with special needs. Their moms and friends looking for something fun to do in the balmy weather, were very complimentary.
In the main choreographic piece, our trio glided smoothly along the grass. The blue sky yawned wide-open above us. Our spines undulated. We depicted waves crashing and breaking, rain streaming down and condensation billowing up. We watched our footsteps carefully–there was goose poop everywhere! Those geese! The greenway was much messier than during rehearsals.
It was a very peaceful feeling to perform with and for these lovely people.
For the global dance, the audience enjoyed working with our beautiful silk props, integrating them into the dance, especially in the “waves” gesture. Our littlest dancer, a two-year old, and was able to join in using the props.
At the end, one of the kids, a13 year-old with autism, touched foreheads with me. Her mom said “That is very special, she doesn’t just hug everyone.” Even though the forehead is not the usual body-orientation for a hug, it felt like a warm cuddle.
Everyone dispersed with a spring in their step. It was a special day.
Directions to the Site of Performance
The park is easily accessed by Carpenter Road, Michigan Avenue, or Packard Road. The Park is on the corner of Platt and Ellsworth. There is signage for Lillie Park. Lillie Park South has a large playground and soccer fields plus lots of nature trails. This is a nice park but we will not be dancing there!
So proceed to the next park and entrance: Lillie Park North. There is one gazebo/structure and a sloping path down toward the Lake. This path can be used by people on foot or using a wheelchair. Proceed toward the small grassy area to the right, not to the fishing pier.
See you there!
Email for more information
How can I get involved?
We can use volunteers to help us notify our neighbors and potential audience, to assist with moving seating into the park, help with playing the recorded music, greeting audience and participants, making posts on social media, etc.
We welcome volunteers!
We would definitely welcome volunteers photographers, poets, writers and we need a videographer/filmaker.
Other resources and links