Bringing the Arctic Home

Global warming meets dance in this “chillingly apt” program inspired by Jody Sperling’s experience dancing on Arctic sea ice. In 2014, Sperling participated in a polar science mission where she was the first choreographer-in-residence aboard a US Coast Guard icebreaker. You can see her dancing on ice in the award-winning film Ice Floe. With Bringing the Arctic Home, she transports the polar icescape to the stage. The stunning production incorporates original music, innovative costuming, lighting and projections. Along with performances, the company offers climate literacy outreach. Sperling’s tailors residencies to each community so as to draw attention local impacts, as well as the global consequences, of climate change. Contact to learn more about bringing the Arctic home to your community.


Bringing the Arctic Home features the following repertory:

02_MG_7688 - Version 2Expressing the fragility and dynamism of the Arctic icescape, Ice Cycle was inspired by choreographer Jody Sperling’s journey to the Chukchi Sea and her experience dancing there on polar sea ice. Alaskan-born composer Matthew Burtner, a specialist in the music of snow and ice, collaborated to create an original score for Sperling’s dance.

PREMIERE: June 20, 2015 at The JCC Manhattan | LENGTH: 31 Minutes |  DANCERS: 6
ORIGINAL MUSIC: Matthew Burtner | COSTUMES: Mary Jo Mecca | LIGHTING: David Ferri
DRAMATURGE: Pele Bausch | PROJECTION DESIGN: Matthew Haber & Chelsie McPhilimy


Photo by Filip Wolak - Polar Rhythms 2A multi-pronged collaboration between dancer-choreographer Jody Sperling, visual artist Amy-Claire Huestis, video artist Omar Zubair and composer Matthew Burtner. In this work, Huestis and Zubair mix magic-lantern projections with a live video feed to suggest an interstellar environment for Sperling’s dance. Burtner’s score layers vortices of sound, while Sperling finds transcendence in an extended whirling passage. Total time: 13 minutes

PREMIERE: June 2, 2016 at University Settlement | LENGTH: 13 Minutes | DANCER: 1
CHOREOGRAPHY: Jody Sperling | MUSIC: Matthew Burtner
PROJECTION DESIGN: Amy-Claire Huestis (magic-lantern) & Omar Zubair (video)

Time Lapse Dance in TurbulenceDistilling patterns of air disturbance into kinetic sculptural forms, the dancers don voluminous white silk capes that billow and undulate into captivating formations. With complex shifting rhythms, the score creates a dynamic aural architecture that the choreography navigates with spiraling vortices and rippling waves. The dancers also work without capes, showing how differently each disquiets the space.

PREMIERE: June 22, 2011 at Baryshnikov Arts Center | LENGTH: 20 Minutes | DANCERS: 6
CHOREOGRAPHY: Jody Sperling | MUSIC: Quentin Chiappetta  |  LIGHTING: David Ferri
COSTUMES: Michelle Ferranti, Jessica Dunham, & Mary Jo Mecca

The score for Turbulence was originally commissioned with funds from the American Music Center’s Live Music for Dance Program.


In conjunction with performances, Time Lapse Dance offers engagement activities relating to climate. Sperling tailors outreach to address the interests and concerns of each specific community. The outreach programs stimulate cross-disciplinary thinking and encourage participants to see how global systems and local impacts are connected. Outreach may be targeted to audiences of any age and include the following.

A lively and engaging speaker, Sperling has presented lectures at colleges, universities, museums, festivals and conferences around the world. In her presentation Turbulent Ice: Dance and the Science in the Arctic, she shares her experience dancing in the Arctic. She discusses both her creative inspiration and the science of how the Arctic affects the global climate system.

Sperling collaborates with presenters to curate panel discussions with experts on climate science and artists responding to the climate crisis. She works with each organization to stimulate a lively dialogue. Sample panel topics include: How what happens in the Arctic affects us all. The role of arts in communicating about climate science. Historical connections between dance and activism.

Time Lapse Dance offers workshops for children of all ages. The company concludes family matinee performances with a participatory workshop for kids and their grown-ups. The workshop, co-designed with oceanographer Larry Pratt (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), integrates scientific concepts of fluid dynamics with movement exercises. Other children’s programs offered by request.
Classes delve into Sperling’s “Fractal Pathways” technique which connects the dancer’s body energetically to the surrounding space using different scales of movement. The scientific concepts introduced serve to enhance the students’ kinetic experience of dancing full-out. The workshop can be geared to dance students of all levels or the general public. The dance technique can be taught as a one-time class or over several sessions.
The company may incorporate screenings into its performance programs, such as Sperling’s Ice Floe or the time-lapse film “Place with No Dawn,” by artist Jessica Houston and climate scientist Bruno Tremblay. This latter film is a record of the passage of time and the ephemeral qualities of the ever-changing weather and light evident in the Arctic.
Sperling’s musical collaborator, highly-acclaimed composer Matthew Burtner, is an expert on the music of snow and ice. There is a live musical performance option for Bringing the Arctic Home programming and with that, collaborative presentations on eco-acoustics and choreography may be offered. The workshops may be geared towards a general audiences or middle-school age children.
With a dance style that conjures up the dynamism and fragility of the polar environment, Jody Sperling has been featured on the covers of Dance Teacher and Origin magazines. Her story has been shared in print and broadcasted on TV and radio.

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Bring the Arctic Home to your community!

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