Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. Imagine all children learning and understanding the inter-connectivity of the planet and all that lives on it. Picture them growing into adults who have made ecologically correct decisions all their lives, and who have worked to make sustainability a viable reality.
On Sunday afternoon, November 5, 2017, the Fractal Tribe performers invited a dozen Nederland children to join them in their debut performance at the Caribou Room. The kids learned the ropes at a workshop the week before the show and were thrilled to be a part of it, to be in the spotlight with these circus performers/ dancers.
It was a matinee show and the Caribou Room was packed at 2 p.m. People meandered through the Sustainability Market and then listened to a few speakers explain how actions can spread, can multiply, from something that doesn’t seem all that harmful to changes in our atmosphere that could have been stopped at the onset.
One speaker asked the audience what would happen to Nederland if the food supply was cut off. Would there be enough produce to sustain a population if we had no access to the outside world? If we were to start developing permaculture gardens now, while it isn’t an emergency, we could be ready if a food crisis were to occur.
Mountain residents could live on potatoes and carrots, which used to be a local cash crop. They could be treated with herbal medicine, from plants that grow in their back yards.
All that is needed is the desire to be a part of the Eco-Awakening movement and the commitment to gather information, spread the word and begin the development of sustainable gardens.
Food production is just one part of the hope for the future. Protecting the environment, utilizing alternative energy resources, stopping the scourge of littering, of contaminating the soil, of polluting our water sources, the bit by bit pieces of ecological recovery could begin now.
When the speakers finished, the performers rolled out the mats and lowered the pulleys that held the fabric. The young dancers took their places and when the music by We Dream Dawn and Bridget Law filled the room with an ethereal, floating blend of violin and guitar and the rest of the world disappeared.
The children climbed their way onto the streams of fabric that swayed like water, rippling with the light. Like pros, the young performers twirled right side up, upside down, and horizontal. Parents gasped as their kids suddenly slid down the fabric, all part of the show.
Breathtaking, inspiring, flowing beauty as the children defied gravity, the performance was unlike anything seen before in Nederland.
When the Fractal Tribe took the stage, the audience was enthralled with the wordless portrayal of what littering can do to the land, how it spreads. The Tribe portrayed a vehicle crash on a crowded highway and perhaps the most powerful piece was that of an animal caught in a net, thrashing, twisting, stretching out to freedom. Telling the story with the heartbreaking wail of the violin bringing the tale to a sad end.
When the dancers reached the end of their story, a crew set up a free-standing acrobatic apparatus that held three dancers who spun around as if they were on a ferris wheel, faster and faster until the audience was gasping in amazement at the light and color and motion.
When the We Dream Dawn group began their happy, soaring dance music, local dancers took the floor. A patterned spotlight shining neon colors and pulsing patterns turned the room into a spiraling mass of green and blue, orange and purple.
Walking outside the Caribou Room was like landing back in Kansas, but the show will not soon be forgotten. A glimpse of how the world could, and should, be.
(Originally published in the November 9, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)