A collaboration between NEW ARTiculations Dance Theatre and the Community Food Bank, the project used modern dance and personal and community stories to reveal how food connects us to each other, our environment, and our everyday lives. We Are What We Eat performances explored topics such as the industrial food system and food miles, the joys and benefits of gardening, overeating, waste & compost, harvesting native mesquite pods, cooking and recipes, breastfeeding, and grapefruit gleaning.
To create the performance, co-director Amanda Morse and I engaged middle- and high school students, Pascua Yaqui seniors, Mexican and Mexican-American adults in Family Literacy classes, and members of the general public in a “moving” dialogue about food issues through interactive workshops using movement and creative writing exercises. Of these participants, 14 went on to perform in the premiere production performed at the Community Food Bank and the Tucson Botanical Gardens in April 2008.
“Nourishing Gestures,” a film by Jamie A. Lee
Combining the spoken word, movement and yes, politics … was a perfect match for me. Women of different abilities moving, passionately offering the history of their recipes (and in one case, cookies) moved me, too. There was a focus about what was important in life. What we eat, what we say, how we move can ground us.
I had always thought that I was making good choices about what I ate, but I realized that there were many other things that I had never considered before – like how far does your food travel? I thought it was good enough to eat organic, but I’ve now learned that local is better.
I’ve found I like to dance: it’s how I can tell people who I am.
I thought about the interconnectedness between food and our bodies—how food fuels our bodies so we can move and create dance and poetry and creatively express ourselves.