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Audience Location:

Walking meditation from Atascadero Creek, passing vernal pool locations on the mesa, to the cliffs above the surf. Open space vista next to a convergence of trails, looking out to the Santa Barbara Channel and the Channel Islands

Date and Time:

June 24, 2017 at 6:00pm PDT

Water Locale:

Pacific Ocean


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.
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.
Drought, impacts on all beings depending on water. Concern… not just for human beings, but for all of the wildlife and vegetation and marine life dependent on pure water sources to thrive.
We also reinforce (with our voices and dance movement) our solidarity to important concerns such as Standing Rock…


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.
Dance , movement chorus, and water blessing chants/rituals will take place on the ocean bluffs.

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.

Local Website:

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.

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