Site-Specific Dances was conceived in the summer of 2020 by dancer and choreographer Michael Spencer Phillips and architect Dino Kiratzidis as an experiment in merging dance and natural environments. Rather than choreographing for the conventional theatrical stage, the site in Site-Specific Dances is the primary generator of the performance pieces. Based on the idea that the natural world is the greatest and most dynamic stage of all, the idea was to activate the “theatrical potentials” of found natural environments with human movement. The dancers are local, reflecting a commitment to site-specific casting. While non-narrative, the thematics of each film touches on a topic specific to that particular environment. This approach soon evolved into an artistic call to a new type of “soft activism” that synthesizes dance, environments, research, and community collaborations—in order to generate awareness and empathy. Simply put, Site-Specific Dances creates inter-disciplinary dance-based performances and film works that bring attention to local environmental and social issues.
In late 2021, ArtsEverywhere began partnering with Site-Specific Dances on the third production in the series. Megaflora is a hybrid of experimental dance, film, and environmental reportage. Set among burnt-out groves of sequoia and redwoods, the film focuses on a group of local dancers moving within the charred ruins of the forest, weaving together testimonials by climate scientists, local ranchers, fire fighters, and indigenous leaders to the importance of fire, and contextualizing the dependent but contentious relationship between humans and the natural environment.
Throughout 2022, ArtsEverywhere will partner with Site-Specific Dances to produce an ethnographic project looking at the legacy of conflict and future prospects for sustained peace in Northern Ireland through choreographed, collective human movement. The project will integrate local communities, dancers and art spaces to host on-site workshops across the city of Derry, part of a year-long program of artistic engagements organized by the Bloody Sunday Trust and the Museum of Free Derry, From Bloody Sunday to Brexit.