Under Review is an environmental dance film series that will be shot at various American national monuments beginning in 2018. By drawing attention to public lands that are under review by President Trump, the series aims to increase public awareness of the threatened lands and promote protection of our nation’s disappearing wilderness. On December 4, 2017, the President drastically reduced the size of two national monuments in Utah to allow for oil and gas development: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. This reduction puts 25 other national monuments and 40 national parks at risk for oil and gas extraction, mining, logging and commercial development, destroying the already limited untouched wildlife and nature in this country and further contributing to climate change.
The series will consist of four short films, each highlighting a unique and threatened national monument, using scores, dancers, and choreography specifically crafted for that location. In order to successfully showcase the wide reaching effects of these environmental changes, the cast and crew will film across the country to show biodiversity: a forest, a desert, a meadow, a body of water, etc. We will be showcasing Gold Butte National Monument (2018 production), Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (2019 production), Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (2020 production), and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (2021 production). I am using movement to enhance the natural beauty of these landscapes. Storytelling through movement allows the audience to become more emotionally invested in protecting the national monuments and land at stake in our current world climate. While dance and environmental studies may be a seemingly incongruous pair, dance is the perfect medium to evoke a spectrum of emotions on the issue: decay, destruction, but also, even more importantly, hope.
Opening these monuments will put our public lands at risk for industrial development, destroying the already limited untouched wildlife and nature in this country and further contributing to climate change. Many of these monuments store fossil fuels deep in their soil. By opening these lands for drilling and mining, we will be releasing these fossil fuels into the atmosphere, thus contributing to climate change. Also, by furthering our logging and timber industry, we are destroying one of our main providers of oxygen and our source of capturing carbon dioxide. These public lands also provide protection of ecosystems and those adorable animals you see on National Geographic.
My purpose isn’t to simply end the battle with the government. Rather, my purpose is to inform the public about these lands so we are encouraged to vote, behave and respond in an educated way that allows our planet to heal.
Copyright © KELLY ASHTON TODD 2019, All rights reserved.