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Audience Location

Dunham Trail

Date and Time

June 20, 2015 at 12:00PM-1:00PM

Ho-Ho-Kus Brook

Water Locale

Ho-Ho-Kus Brook


Lynn Needle, RYT/500 is the Founder/Artistic Director of Art of Motion, Inc., a non-profit cultural and educational organization home to the Art of Motion Dance Theatre, an internationally recognized repertory company. A veteran of site-specific touring, Lynn has performed throughout the world in a multitude of indoor and outdoor theatres, at the foot of volcanoes, in bullfighting rings, federal cultural institutions such as the Library of Congress, in Zoos, and at countless Festivals, Parks and Galas. Needle is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from College of Southern Nevada’s “Dance in the Dessert” Festival and the Dance Magazine National ADCFA Award for Choreography.

The Art of Motion Dance Theatre (AOMDT) is committed to a unique artistic vision honoring legacies, celebrating collaboration and expanding creative boundaries.  Lynn Needle, former soloist with Nikolais Dance Theatre, and co-artistic director Olivia Galgano, former principal with Ballet Russe have created original work on the company that has developed into a vast array of repertory honoring the complexities of dance as an art form. Their work is continually evolving, has a clear aesthetic base in the classical ballet and modern dance legacies with repertory featuring contemporary street dance. The synthesis of movement is unpredictable, theatrical and accessible; highly sophisticated yet street savvy.

Needle and Galgano continue the vision and commitment to mixing genres, multimedia and theatricality by collaborating with costume designer, Annie Hickman, lighting designer, Ruth Grauert, various conductors, musicians and composers who have created original scores for their work, and choreographic collaboration with former Pilobolus principal, Kent Lindemer.​

Sarah Clark, a modern dancer and sophomore from Goucher filmed the piece and edited the copy as well as shot stills.

History of Site and Related Water Issues

The meaning of the name Ho-Ho-Kus is in dispute. From the official history on the borough’s website, the most likely origin is a contraction of the Delaware Indian term “Mah-Ho-Ho-Kus” (or “Mehokhokus”), meaning “the red cedar.”
Ho-Ho-Kus is an Indian word for running water, a cleft in the rock or under the rock or hollow rock. The word “hohokes”, signifies the whistle of the wind against the bark of trees. The Chihohokies Indians whose chief lived in the area. The Dutch Hoog Akers means”high acorns” or Hoge Aukers, Dutch for “high oaks”. The Indian word hoccus means “fox”, or woakus, “gray fox”, or the “Ho” part means joy or spirit, and the rest of the name from “hohokes,” meaning a kind of bark of a tree.[ The Ho-Ho-Kus brook is lined by the Dunham Trail, a popular hiking spot which is home to wildlife including deer, fox, coyotes, chipmunks, squirrels, birds, frogs, turtles, and an occasional bear. The brook provides a beautiful natural sound score for the structured improvisation and is a stunning backdrop for Annie Hickman’s Monarch butterfly costumes, hand-tooled leather mask and Papillon hand-dyed silk wings.


We used a sound score from Stevie Wonder’s “Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants” as barely audible inspiration played on an iphone and relied mostly on the cascading waterfall and natural bird chorus.

The Performance

Participating in Global Water Dances was a moment to honor the fragility of the Earth and focus on the state of the environment.  It allowed us to improvise in an organic setting on the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook, a site once graced by Native Americans, spiritual, beautiful, and calming. The name “Ho-Ho-Kus” is derived from Native American terms evoking running water, a cleft in the rock; the word “hohokes”, which signifies the whistle of the wind against the bark of trees. The sound of the brook and waterfall was mesmerizing, creating a natural metronome which sparked improvisatory movement.  As dancers, we embraced challenges offered by the landscape such as precarious balances on tree roots, branches, mud, stones, and in the cascading water itself.  We were filmed by Goucher College/AOM dance student, Sarah Clark, who self-designed a major in the “Expressive Arts.”  Working with various generations of dancers in an organic setting was like nature itself; some trees are saplings, some at full growth, other species not yet realizing their potential. The water is constant, feeding the wildlife which is diverse, ranging from birds, to frogs, turtles, deer, insects and fauna. Its musical and healing properties were apparent and the perfect backdrop to the trio. 

Annie Hickman’s Monarch butterfly wings were an instrumental inspiration, since part of the AOMDT’s vast repertoire emphasizes the relationship between Man vs. Nature, and explores creation myth as well as beauty and legend.  Climbing trees, ancient stone walls, embankments and stepping on stones as though they were lily pads was not only engaging but contemplative.  Improvising and performing with Janette Dishuk and Courtney Karam was an experience in trust, understanding and mutual respect, something we all need to have for the earth so that we can sustain the health of the environment.

Directions to the Site of Performance

Route 17 North or South to Ridgewood Avenue
Ridgewood Avenue to Brookside Avenue (Turn Left or Right on to Brookside Avenue)
Turn Right on to Spring Avenue to Bridge. Enter Dunham Trail on your left as you go over bridge.
Walk approximately 1/4 mile to waterfall on left.

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How can I get involved?

Please let me know if we can act as advocates in the NY/NJ tri-state area for future GWD events.

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