Even on the calmest days, a garden is alive with movement. And an upcoming event Sherman Library and Gardens October 16 aims to explore and celebrate the abundant vibrancy of nature through dance.
For one day only, the Botanical Garden of Corona del Mar presents ‘Garden Flow’, an immersive experience in which the audience can watch contemporary dancers perform movements created exclusively for Sherman Gardens and inspired by its flora.
Orange County Artists Backhausdance dance company will gather in the central garden and then divide into small groups that will meander through the property. Guests will then choose a group to follow and are free to change courses throughout the evening, participating in a performance-walk.
The event grew out of conversations between Jenny Backhaus, founder of the dance company, and Catherine Dickinson, director of education at Sherman Gardens, who collaborated to deliver an outdoor performance at the property.
“There are going to be thumbnails in a lot of places in the garden,” Backhaus explained. “It’s choosing your own adventure – where do you want to walk? The dancers grab your attention almost as if you are in a secret garden.
Because the garden, its arrangement and the plant species found there are essential to the movements and attitudes that the dancers adopt when they move in space, the performers have embarked on a month-long residency that included weekly visits to the gardens.
Dickinson said she and others were eager to welcome the dancers and see how they were inspired by their surroundings.
“It’s always interesting to bring creative people into the garden,” she said. “They see it in a different way and then I start to see it differently. It’s about bringing a different perspective.
In a rehearsal Thursday, the dancers in groups of two and three dispersed to sections of the garden to practice movements together and discuss elements of a dance that would be rehearsed and where improvisations could be made.
“After your separation, how are you? Backhausdance Associate Artistic Director Amanda White coached a couple in the Shade Garden. “Is this temporary? Are you electrified and connected to each other? Or is there a little more push and pull? How much tension do you want to put there? “
Dancer Samuel DeAngelo explained that each performer has a space where he or she organizes movements, setting the tone for others to follow their example in that space. Dancers also practice navigating tight spaces, low plants, and groups of audience members.
“This entire space is filled with beautiful and beautiful plants,” said DeAngelo. “But they’re also structured in a fantastically otherworldly way. There is a lot of room and space to play with these different ideas.
Scott LaFleur, executive director of Sherman Library & Gardens, said Thursday that “Garden Flow” was part of a coordinated effort to bring more visual and performing arts to the garden space.
“The three pillars of our organization are history, horticulture and the arts,” he said. “This is an important part of our expanding artistic program. “
While plans have been in the works since May, a $ 20,000 arts grant recently created by Orange County District 2 Supervisor Katrina Foley and won by Sherman Gardens has allowed organizers to incorporate lighting and the sound in the evening and reduce the price of tickets to further expand access.
“The grant has definitely helped us do more,” said LaFleur.
The dancers have prepared two separate performances for the day of the show – a free afternoon performance for garden guests, made possible by the grant, and a paid evening performance that begins at 5:30 p.m. with a pre-show reception at the restaurant on site. Cultivar.
Tickets costs $ 40 for members and $ 50 for non-members. VIP tickets, which include the pre-show reception and a post-show dinner at Cultivar with an artist meet, cost $ 150 for members and $ 200 for non-members.
Sherman Library & Gardens is located at 2647 E. Coast Highway, in Corona del Mar. Visit thesherman.org or call (949) 673-2261 for more information.
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