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SEA LEVEL RISE
PROJECT

2024 - SURGE on Martha's Vineyard:

Boston Dance Theater (BDT) is pleased to announce it has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for a Challenge America award of.

This grant will support BDT’s SURGE program with performances to be held in association with The Trustees of Reservations on Martha’s Vineyard this summer, with The Yard as a collaborator. 

“The NEA is delighted to announce this grant to Boston Dance Theater, which is helping contribute to the strength and well-being of the arts sector and local community,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “We are pleased to be able to support this community and help create an environment where all people have the opportunity to live artful lives.”  

 

“The Artists, Board, and Staff of Boston Dance Theater are delighted to receive this grant of $10,000 from the NEA for the continuation of the SURGE project. At a time of dwindling funding for the arts and a climate in crisis, SURGE offers a beacon of hope for coastal communities through a positive artistic message.”

     -Jessie Jeanne Stinnett, Founder/Co-Artistic Director, Boston Dance Theater

 

“As severe storms and sea level rise are a real and present danger on Martha's Vineyard, the Trustees are excited to connect the Island community with this important dance performance to bring us together and inspire solutions for our future.”

     -Darci Schofield, Islands Director, The Trustees of Reservations

Watch the SURGE East Boston Performance Premiere from July 30, 2022

SURGE 2022: Boston Dance Theater East Boston Performance

SURGE 2022: Boston Dance Theater East Boston Performance

Play Video
2022 - SURGE Pilot:

'Boston Dance Theater launches SURGE Fellowship in East Boston, receives support from The Boston Foundation Live Arts Boston Grant.'

This grant funds a paid creative residency for neighbors and stakeholders of East Boston to reflect on the impacts of climate change at the local level. Together, fellows will share stories, build on existing narratives of resilience to climate change, and envision a thriving future for the community through artistic presentation. Their work, in both movement and spoken word, will culminate in a performance in East Boston, alongside BDT’s performance of SURGE in 2022. Read the announcement article from WBUR.

Virtual Launch

SURGE: VIRTUAL SERIES FROM BOSTON DANCE THEATER

 

September 2 - November 14, 2020

In the fall of 2020 BDT launched the Sea Level Rise Project with a series of virtually curated events about the ocean, environmental activism, and the role that arts+science collaboration can play in creating a sustainable future. Please enjoy the archived recordings of these events below.

  • SURGE: Cooking Lesson
    SURGE: Cooking Lesson
    Wed, Oct 28
    Oct 28, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    Oct 28, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    2019 Chopped Champion, Fernanda Tapia returns again for Boston Dance Theater’s second to last SURGE virtual event on October 28, 2020.
  • SURGE+MASS RIVERS: Art in the Flow
    SURGE+MASS RIVERS: Art in the Flow
    Wed, Oct 14
    Oct 14, 2020, 7:00 PM – 7:30 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    Oct 14, 2020, 7:00 PM – 7:30 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    A Choreographer's Response to Sea Level Rise A conversation with Jessie Jeanne Stinnett about "Surge" Aired: October 14 2020 Co-presented with Massachusetts Rivers Alliance
  • SURGE: Science of Sea Level Rise
    SURGE: Science of Sea Level Rise
    Wed, Oct 14
    Oct 14, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    Oct 14, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    Christopher Piecuch (Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) discusses the uncommonly known factors associated with sea level rise along the New England coastline.
  • SURGE: Dance Film Preview
    SURGE: Dance Film Preview
    Wed, Sep 30
    Sep 30, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    Sep 30, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    Boston Dance Theater presents "Surge", a dance film by videographer Ernesto Galan with choreography by Stinnett/BDT and scientific input by Pratt, shot on location at Jeremy Point in Wellfleet, Cape Cod. Costumes by Zane Kealey.
  • SURGE: Interview + Dance Demo
    SURGE: Interview + Dance Demo
    Wed, Sep 16
    Sep 16, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    Sep 16, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    Dr. Pratt and Jessie discuss their dance+science collaboration on the topic of sea level rise. The interview will be moderated by Hortense Gerardo and will include a livestream studio demonstration with the dancers of Boston Dance Theater.
  • SURGE: Panel Discussion
    SURGE: Panel Discussion
    Wed, Sep 02
    Sep 02, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    Sep 02, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
    BDT Zoom
    Join distinguished arts+science innovators from Boston and beyond for an afternoon as they tackle the big question, “Why should the arts work with science to achieve sustainability and what actions are currently being taken?”.
Project Overview
SEA LEVEL RISE PROJECT OVERVIEW

"The upheaval that has been caused by Covid-19 is also very much a harbinger of global warming. Because humans have fundamentally altered the physical workings of planet Earth, this is going to be a century of crises, many of them more dangerous than what we’re living through now."

 

Bill McKibben on Mark Lynas’s Our Final Warning: Six Degrees of Climate Emergency for the New York Review of Books.

 

In 2018 Jessie Jeanne Stinnett teamed up with ocean physicist Dr. Larry J. Pratt to envision a dance+science project centered around the latest scientific research on sea level rise and climate change in Boston Harbor. Initially supported by the Dancemakers Residency at Boston Center for the Arts and Boston Dance Alliance, Stinnett, Pratt, and the dancers of Boston Dance Theater (BDT) developed ‘Surge’ (working title), a performance work which enacts the salient factors of sea level rise. The work also draws attention to the devastating impacts that general mean sea-level rise has on coastal and island communities over the globe. BDT’s Sea Level Rise project aims to join a global effort of engaging artists and scientists in conversation, process, and performance in order to aid global transformation with regard to environmental sustainability.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENTAL HISTORY

In 2018, Stinnett participated in ‘Dancing With the Future’ a dance+science project with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Harvard University’s Program of Evolutionary Dynamics. Stinnett considers ‘Dancing With the Future’ to be a pivotal moment in her dance-making career and was the inspiration for initiating collaboration on the topic of sea level rise with Dr. Pratt. 

 

Since 2018 she has spent a significant amount of time considering her own work as an artist and how that work can contribute to informing, bringing together, and building pathways for scientific consciousness within the communities where she lives and works. Stinnett asks: What can artists do to contribute to a global effort to create sustainable practices that yield cooperation with the future? What kind of impact does our dancing have on our environment, and ourselves? ‘Dancing With the Future’ revealed to her that scientists, dancers, and policymakers can successfully sit at the same table, tackle the same issues, and productively collaborate toward unearthing sustainable solutions. 

 

During the winter months of 2020 ‘Surge’ underwent its first phase of development at Boston Center for the Arts (supported by the Boston Dancemakers Residency). The initial research consisted of Dr. Pratt meeting with Stinnett and her team of dancer-collaborators over a period of 6 weeks to explain key scientific principles of ocean dynamics. 

 

Jacob’s Pillow (Beckett, MA) and Boston Center for the Arts (Boston South End) had committed to hosting the company for residencies and performances in the spring and summer months of 2020, but these engagements were canceled due to COVID-19 closures. BDT resumed its in-person development of 'Surge' with Dr. Pratt at The Vineyard Arts Project (Martha's Vineyard) and Movement Arts Gloucester MA (MAGMA) in the summer of 2021.

Also in 2021 Stinnett received The Boston Foundation's Live Arts Boston grant award to support the next phase of research and development for 'Surge', which includes a paid fellowship for BIPOC, East Boston-based artists to take place in the summer of 2022.