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School of Music, Theatre & Dance pres.

Belle Isle and Beyond: A Site Dance Performance

Community members from Detroit, along with U-M faculty and students, are joining forces to create Belle Isle and Beyond, an innovative site dance performance that celebrates the synergies between Detroit’s natural and built environments. The family-friendly 30-minute outdoor performance will begin at the Belle Isle Nature Center and environs, rain or shine.

The Belle Isle and Beyond performance grows out of a series of workshops in dance, visual art, and music for Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences middle school students. Held at the Belle Isle Nature Center and at Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences in February-April, the workshops cultivated a sensory engagement with Belle Isle in order to deepen understandings of Detroit’s ecosystems and the ongoing restoration efforts taking place in the Detroit River watershed.

Inspired by the creative investigations of the young students, Belle Isle and Beyond features choreographers and dancers from Detroit’s Big Red Wall Dance Company, whose artistic director is Erika Stowall, and Ann Arbor Dance Works, the resident dance company of the University of Michigan Department of Dance. The artistic director for Ann Arbor Dance Works and for Belle Isle and Beyond is Jessica Fogel, a professor of Dance at U-M.

Music for the performance is composed by Michael Gurevich, associate professor of Performing Arts Technology at U-M, and by Tessa Fornari, a U-M Performing Arts Technology student majoring in sound engineering. Their ambient electronic score incorporates sounds of Belle Isle, including sounds recorded by the DAAS middle school students and underwater recordings of the Detroit River.

The event also features an exhibit of art collages created by the DAAS middle school students in a workshop led by U-M School for Environment and Sustainability aquatic ecologist and visual artist Dr. Sara Adlerstein, and Belle Isle Nature Center education specialist David Anthony.

Sponsored by Michigan MCubed 3.0; University of Michigan Edward Ginsberg Center; University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences; the Detroit Zoological Society and Belle Isle Nature Center.


  • Free - no tickets required

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