See dance in unexpected places. See familiar landscapes in fresh ways, while eating, drinking, chatting with friends – or online.
About this project
We’re raising funds to help us mount a mobile, site-specific dance performance that will take place on one of the last two weekends in September, 2016. Our audience members buy tickets to ride on a school bus. We take them on a two-hour tour, on the outskirts of Missoula. Along the way they’re served drinks and hors d’oeuvres and are prompted by a tongue-in-cheek tour guide to glance out the window at opportune moments. As the bus rolls along they’ll see “snapshots” out the windows of unusual things (eg. dancers rolled up in tarps unfurling in canon down a hillside) that highlight places that are either unusual or perhaps so familiar that we’ve ceased to see them. They will also stop three times to get off the bus and watch three full-length dances created especially for each unique site. Headwaters Dance Productions Artistic Director Amy Ragsdale creates these experiences with her company of professional dancers and collaborates with Brazilian visual artist Janaina Vieira Marques and composer Caleb van Gelder as well as other live musicians.
It’s fun! It’s different! But most of all it gives our audience members the gift of time to pause and really look and absorb in a new way the place where they live. Like standing still and raising one’s face to a tropical downpour, The Bus Tour allows our audience members to immerse themselves in their landscape; an opportunity we don’t often get in our fast-paced, work-filled lives.
Risks and challenges
We’ve produced The Bus Tour twice before. There’s a familiar set of obstacles that comes with the territory of producing site-specific dance: permission to use the location if it’s on private property, permits if it’s on public; unexpected and uncontrollable changes to the site (such as the RV or earth-moving equipment that showed up and were abandoned in the middle of our “stages” at two different sites); and unpredictable weather (last year’s dramatic thunder, lightning and rain during the final performance). The initial choice of site is a big part of making sure that the show can go on, regardless. It needs to be big enough to park two buses, have sight lines that are good for all audience members, be accessible to the elderly and people with disabilities. This is all part of the challenge, part of the fun.