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Gaviota Coast

Audience Location

ambient audience on equestrian trails, hiking paths, as well as beaches

Date and Time

June 20, 2015 at Varied; see notes under ‘Performance’

Water Locale

Gaviota Coastline, Pacific Ocean and Maria Ygnacio Creek watershed


Mary Lee Sanders

History of Site and Related Water Issues

Santa Barbara, California is impacted by critical water issues. We are facing a severe drought, and most recently suffer from an oil spill. A pipeline on land ruptured just weeks ago, spilling onto the pristine and life-rich Gaviota coastline and into the Pacific ocean. It has taken a toll on marine life and its long range impact has not been fully understood at this time. Deathcounts include dolphins and seals, the subject of my 2013 Waterdance (focusing on P.O.D.’s work, Protect Our Dolphins.) Haunting images of dolphins, dead with tar in their mouths on the beach, are indelible images that grace our local media this Spring.
Maria Ygnacio creek
The intention of these dance scores is to bring compassionate active attention to the “more than human” world also suffering when water is in short supply, or contaminated by human activity. I would like to focus particular attention this year on Project Coyote, and the work that they do in educating and implementing harmonious non-lethal cohabitation with coyotes and other wild predators who frequent these creekbeds, pathways to our neighborhoods and to our shores. As water becomes scarce, so does food, and humans and wildlife interface more often. Coyotes get more than their share of bad press and I hope to focus attention on groups whose impulses are biologically sound, compassionate in vision, and honor the intrinsic right to life of fellow beings. We all need plentiful, pristine water whatever our form.


Ambient, natural sounds. Hopefully the coyotes are willing to share their songs. Water gourds for some scores.

The Performance

Performances will be at various times throughout the day at various sites, from Los Padres National Forest foothills down to shoreline beaches.
Los Padres National Forest (mountains and foothills) will be primarily processional in nature to cover more trail through the dried chapparel. Some steep terrain, some dried boulder laced creekbeds. This is coyote habitat, also bear, bobcats, and cougars among a diversity of other wildlife. Shoreline movement scores will include environmental artmaking, and movement within those created forms. Refugio and El Capitan beaches (site of oilspills) are currently offlimits,and supposed to reopen within weeks. The plan is to get as close to primary impact sites as possible .

Directions to the Site of Performance

Contact choreographer for wildland sites. Specific beachsite pending on accessibility due to shoreline oil clean up.

Email for more information

How can I get involved?

Join the processional on the trail, and/or the beach score
(dancers, hikers, equestrians…all ages and experience levels welcomed.)

Other resources and links

Project Coyote:
Camilla Fox, director
This organization promotes peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife through education, science, and advocacy. Please review the Project Coyote site and continue this most important work. The drought engages and impacts all beings directly through water, nourishment, and habitat needs and indirectly through related issues of increased wildfire threats.

Back to the list of All 2015 performances