Conceived and directed by Cassie Meador

“I would challenge anybody to sit down at a meal one day and take one component – the salad, the milk, the bread – and think about what it cost nature to put it on the table. Bread’s made from grain, grain comes from a field, forest must be cleared to have a field… Break down every component and you realize each one is like a single point in a spider’s web.”– Paul Johns, farmer and wildlife biologist

photo by John Machtig

Drift, an original work by Dance Exchange Artistic Director Cassie Meador, tells the human story of how land changes over time, portraying the shifting geography of farming, faith, and commerce in America.

The initial concept for Drift was inspired by Meador’s visits to her hometown of Augusta, Georgia. Throughout her childhood and during these visits, she witnessed a plot of land change from a farm to a strip mall containing a supermarket and from a supermarket to a place of worship.

During an extensive research and development process, she and Dance Exchange artists gathered evidence from written texts, oral histories and the script of the natural world. Collaborators came from fields as diverse as geology, ecology, archeology, agriculture, and history.
By turns comic, provocative, and wistful, Drift moves forward and backward in time. What happens when land changes hands? What becomes of people and their jobs? Where does our food come from? And what are California peaches doing in Georgia?

As audiences contemplate these questions, a series of distinctive stage pictures unfolds: A table turns into a house; a cathedral archway reveals a bank of grocery shelves. Stones, plates, shopping carts, tea cups, cereal boxes, and peaches dance against a background of shifting video vistas. Vivid characters speak their minds and wear their life stories on their bodies. Music from the 30s and the 60s mingles with present-day voices to reflect on what we build and what we leave for future communities.

Companion programming will enable host communities to contemplate the journey of food to the table, and the ecological and ethical dimensions of our land uses and food choices. Workshops and interactive panels connect audiences with local farmers, market organizers, and community gardeners.

Commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Local Dance Commissioning Project in 2008, Drift received two 2009 Metro DC Dance Awards for Meador as an emerging choreographer and for Shane Meador’s excellence in set design.

Interested in booking a performance or workshop relating to the themes of Drift? Contact partnerships@danceexchange.org.