Arctic Spring Blog

Jody Sperling journeyed to the Arctic aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy researching a dance project entitled Ice Cycle. She accompanied a scientific team studying the relationship between the thinning ice sheet and increased phytoplankton blooms. During the expedition she danced on sea ice at a dozen deployments. You can read Jody’s dance posts below as well as on the mission’s dedicated blog Jody will be developing a stage piece on Arctic sea ice inspired by the experience in 2014 and 2015.

Ice Floe Dancing – July 6, 2014
IceFloeMovie-IconThis video is a montage, edited by Ben Harden and Amanda Kowalski, of me dancing at ice stations in the Chukchi Sea. The raw footage, as well my research and inspiration from this Arctic voyage, will be incorporated into future projects, such as a longer-format movie and a stage work for the full company.Click to READ POST


Habitat – June 27, 2014
Habitat for BlogDuring SUBICE’s 43 day voyage, I got to dance on sea ice 12 times. As the science mission concluded and the Healy headed south we left my dancing habitat behind. . . . From the deck, I spotted one dirty disintegrating floe, less than a few paces in either direction, that had a seal hole and polar bear tracks on it. Click to READ POST

Waiting and a Squall – June 24, 2014
03-Close When I left off in Ice Station Practice, I was awaiting a shoot with outreach team documentarians Ben Harden and Amanda Kowalski. For the first two weeks of the cruise, we had been alternating days on and off the ice. When the next ice station day arrived, the weather turned out to be particularly bitter cold and windy. Click to READ POST

Ice Watching – June 20, 2014
Arctic Sea IceMy favorite place on the Healy is the bridge, where you can survey the every-changing panorama of sea ice. There’s a chair exactly like the captain’s chair, but on the port (left) side, that’s available for any member of the science team. Occupying that seat makes me feel on top of the world. which in a way I am! Click to READ POST

Ice Station Practice – May 30, 2014
dancing on sea iceSo far, I’ve gotten to dance during four ice stations. An “ice station” is when the Healy nestles up against an ice floe, drops anchor and the scientists get to do their experiments—drill holes, collect water column samples, measure albedo, etc..On ice station days, we have a 10am briefing in the bridge, then the Coast Guard sends down an ice survey team and a bear watch. Click to READ POST

Time Lapse Dance Workshop – May 28, 2014
Workshop aboard HealyThe science team aboard the Healy has been incredibly generous in giving me impromptu tutorials in such topics as sea ice composition, melt pond mathematics, ice algae bio-markers and zooplankton reproduction. In return, I had the opportunity to teach a workshop in “Time Lapse Dance” technique.
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Silhouettes – May 25, 2014
SilhouetteI was rehearsing in the Healy’s hangar and decided to open the door to the helipad. Moving from inside to outside and back again, I was able to modulate the silhouette effect captured by the camera. My costume, which in daylight is whiter than snow, now also appears in shades of grey and black. Click to READ POST


Hangar Heaven – May 19, 2014
Hangar barreFinding adequate rehearsal space in NYC is tough. In March and April while preparing for Polar Vortex, my dancers and I rehearsed in seven different locations. So, imagine my joy aboard USCG Healy where, as the only choreographer amongst a pod of scientists, I’ve commandeered the helicopter hangar as my workspace.
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Dancing in the Arctic – May 15, 2014
Jody Ice CapeI’m aboard the Healy to conduct research—artistic, not scientific—for a choreography project entitled Ice Melt. While the science team will be collecting data about under-ice phytoplankton blooms, ocean physics and sea ice composition, I’ll be gathering information too.
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