Story Collect By Location
click here to download information packet
Our town—the closest town to our establishment—Poolesville, MD. We have a town council who meets on a regular basis. They make the decisions with input from the community when needed. Poolesville is made up of approximately 6,000 people!
I have a complicated relationship with New York City. When I first moved there I was young and there was no other place I wanted to be. Smitten in the way that belongs to the young, I wrote bad poetry and read good poetry in praise of it. I collected and read and re-read books about the history of the City or that use the City as a backdrop or a foil. I loved flying in over the vast grey landscape of artificial canyons and fabricated mountains as I returned to what I thought of as "home" when I came back from work trips or family vacations. I was mystified by people who wanted to live anywhere else, and extolled the virtues of what I thought of as "my City" to anyone that did not walk away.
Our family was out for a bike ride Saturday April 14th and were treated to the open lock house, lock 30, so we had to stop and check it out. Inside was amazing. We were so pleased to see each room and the artifacts, maps, and stories. In the cooking area we saw a woman taking photos of the ceiling. We looked up too. What was up there? It was ladybugs!
Our daughter was very excited to see so many ladybugs. "They are good luck, right?"
We enjoyed our lunch on the porch with Pepper the Docent and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. My daughter went out to her bike to ride in the heath grass and yelled out excitedly
Read full description...
February 17, 2012
This Spring, Dance Exchange Artistic Director Cassie Meador will walk 500 miles, launching a new initiative in art and environmentalism. The physical journey, which begins on April 10, 2012 will take Meador on a path to explore the energy sources that power her home starting at her house in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, DC and travelling through Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Stops along the way include the communities of Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Blacksburg, and Beckley. The walk will take approximately two months to complete and will serve as a community engagement tour as well as research and development time for a dance production entitled How To Lose a Mountain, set to premiere in spring 2013. The walk will be highly documented through "500 Miles/500 Stories," a website that will allow the public to follow the walk and read stories contributed from people and communities encountered along the trail and beyond.
The Dance Exchange program Tuesday at the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts was a pre-kickoff to the official kickoff Tuesday of a two-month dance project by this Takoma Park-based company.
Artistic Director Cassie Meador and some company members will trek 500 miles through Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia to explore the energy sources that power our homes. This project culminates in a dance production titled "How To Lose a Mountain," set to premiere next spring.
CassieMeador_power_croppedCassie Meador is on a quest. She has decided to take a little walk — a 500-mile walk,to be exact — to trace the source of the energy she uses in her Washington D.C. home. It all started with a bit of research that led to a disturbing conclusion.
"Learning that my power comes from a mountaintop-removal coal mine left me completely shocked. I realized that I was responsible for what was happening in those communities, part of the choices I make every day."
Perhaps dancers know better than anyone that the surest way to comprehend seemingly incomprehensible things is to physically do them—or to get as close as you can. That's certainly the case for Cassie Meador, artistic director of Dance Exchange, who embarked yesterday on a 500-mile walk in an effort to grasp the complexities of the resources that fuel her home: where they come from, how they reach her, and the untold stories behind that journey. In a promotional video for the project, called 500 Miles/500 Stories, Meador asks: Why not just research energy use online? Her answer: "We're talking about power: The literal power we use in our homes, and the power we have with each decision we make about what we use and our relationship to how it is made. It seems important to use the power and the resource of my own body to make this journey."
Cassie Meador not only would, but will walk 500 miles. Tuesday night, she'll explain why.
Meador, artistic director for the Dance Exchange, is setting off for her very long walk on April 10. She'll be traveling by foot from her home on the District of Columbia side of Takoma through Maryland and Virginia to West Virginia. (Meador says she's not disclosing the exact location where the walk will end "for safety reasons.")
The stage is set with a mountainous display of card castles and a toddler's wooden chair; one rogue breath of wind could blow the whole set away. With that air of vulnerability, three dancers begin an excerpt from Dance Exchange's "How to Lose a Mountain," to be completed in the Spring of 2013 based on the experience of hiking 500 miles to find the origins of domestic energy. As the dancers toss the playing cards across the stage, a path is laid before them. Dancers Sarah Levitt and Shula Strassfeld embrace on the precipice of a toddler chair. One foul move and the whole card castle could tumble down, but if they hold together, they can balance on the edge of the cliff.
song - Jane Gabriels
guitar - Lucio Menegon
cello - Valerie Kuehne
recorded at Kingtone Studios
I found in mid-February that my first day on the trail would be a 25 mile day. I panicked a little—can my body actually do that? I trust that my body can perform in rehearsal and on stage week after week, but this stamina is of a different sort than what it takes to walk long distances. Also, at the end of hard day of rehearsal, there are things like a warm bath and soft bed waiting for me—not so on the trail.
A video from Cassie made about the project with Matt Mahaney.
How would you map the distance between you and your neighbor? North and south? Campus and community? Past and present? Syracuse residents of all ages answered these questions through the creation of "Distance Strips", visual representations of cultural, historical, and geographic distances in Syracuse and beyond. Within the parameters of a 12" by 3" strip of paper, big and small distances are made visible: the distance between families located in two different towns; the distance between the ideological left and right; the distance from a small child's hands to the cookie jar, just out of reach on the kitchen table.
This 500-mile walk is not only about tracing the sources of our resources and the distances they travel to power our homes—it's about the stories in each community that we will pass through. It's about the people, the land, the plants, the places we call home. Cassie Meador's journey is as much about creating a new story as it is about unearthing old stories, lost stories, and untold stories. Dance Exchange has developed a series of beautifully illustrated playing cards (designed by Jenny Greer) to engage communities on the trail (and far beyond) in the age-old tradition of story telling.
Kevin Borg & Katrina Borg (7 of Diamonds)
The hand we are dealt in the generation, in this place: Four-wheeled, fueled fossils on which our transportation and economic systems depend, but cannot be sustained. The seven of diamonds: A number both lucky and sacred. Might we yet play a better hand?
Dymph De Wild (7 of Hearts)
In the Woods
For centuries wanderlust has been associated with freedom, mobility, displacement, enrichment, development, connections, inventiveness, and boundaries. In the Woods depicts the artist on one of her walks in a Belgium forest on a cold winter night. Today with the forest long gone, the artist continues her meanders in the American landscape moving through space while collecting fragments of her new life along the way.
Read full description...