Back in April, I wrote a post about the project that my Urban Ecosystem Ecology course was working on in collaboration with a videography class and an environmental studies class at St. Thomas, a dance performance class at Macalester, and the Pilobolus dance company .

At long last, we have video available from the May performance of “Red Queen”.  The Macalester dancers did an amazing job, as did our UST videography students, led by Emily Dehart.  I can’t claim any credit for how well this turned out, but it was a great privilege for us to get to work with Pilobolus master teachers and choreographers, and to observe how they transformed themes from our course (growth, consumption, and decomposition, throughflow and cycling) into movement.

The title of the piece, “Red Queen”, comes from evolutionary biology.  An allusion to Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass”, in which the queen described to Alice that one must run as fast as one can just to stay in the same place, the Red Queen Theory describes how organisms must continuously adapt and evolve in an ever changing environment.  Interesting to think about how this concept applies to humans in urban ecosystems.  Midway through the semester, when my class was meeting with the Pilobolus choreographers and watching some initial video put together by the videography students, one of my students, Ashela Richardson, mentioned that one of the video clips reminded her of the Red Queen theory.  Pilobolus associate artistic director Matt Kent latched onto the idea, and the piece congealed around this concept.

Check it out, and tell us what you think.

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