Closing Reception of ‘Salton Sea: An Artistic Discussion’ Free, December 12, 2017, 6:00PM, UCR Palm Desert, CA

By Constance Clare-Newman

What’s a vital discussion without any movement? Bursting onto the burgeoning creative scene of the Coachella Valley is newly formed, intergenerational movement collective Desert Movement Arts. Comprised of local dancers, choreographers, somatic practitioners and dance teaching artists, Desert Movement Arts will debut Circling the Shrinking Sea at the closing reception for ‘Salton Sea: An Artistic Discussion’ on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 6:00p.m. at UCR Palm Desert.

Circling the Shrinking Sea evolved out of the dancers’ research into the many birds that live or migrate through the Salton Sea, and of seeing the many groups with disparate (or competing) interests and needs begin to come together for the greater good.

A sextet aged 8-74 respond to the outdoor space facing the gallery, including stairs, benches, and rocks as they dance bird motifs and flock as pelicans, burrowing owls and herons. As they return to human movement, they solo, pair and circle, inspired by folk dances and community dances.


Enveloping the multi-faceted performance is an evocative sound score by local dynamo MLN17, known for her eclectic mixes and provocative, multidisciplinary installations. Listen closely to the layers of the compelling composition, featuring the creative group’s field recordings of distinctive Salton Sea soundscapes.

The piece invites the audience to connect to the resilience and mutability of the moving body, while discovering the migratory birds and community rallying to repair the Salton Sea.

Before and after the dance, enjoy the visual art exhibition in the gallery. The displays shift perspective dramatically, from stunning and unnerving photographs to intimate textures of a mixed media installation, with unusual found objects and tons of salt.  Over 30 artists and 100 art pieces fill the walls, illustrating a deep dive of interest and complexity.

The Salton Sea has been an integral part of the Coachella Valley for decades. Now it threatens the quality of life in our desert. Everybody knows something must be done, and a continuing dialogue is the only way forward. This art exhibition, curated by Terry Hastings, is designed to spark conversation.

The event will take place at UCR Palm Desert located at 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive (at Cook St) Palm Desert, CA 92211

About Desert Movement Arts:

As dance artists, educators, and somatic explorers, we produce collaborative and site-based dance and movement performances. Our practices are inspired by the desert environment, postmodern dance, activist art, queer and feminist explorations, contact improvisation and site-specific choreography. Co-founders are Constance Clare-Newman, a movement practitioner and educator, bridging somatic exploration, performance practices and modern dance techniques; and Brittany Delany, dancer, choreographer, arts and culture worker, writer, and community organizer. Along with co-founders, collective members Lauren Bright, Lois Graziano, and guest artist Sarah Ashkin will perform in Circling the Shrinking Sea.