BRATTLEBORO — For more than a decade, Loom Ensemble has been devising interdisciplinary theater for culture shift, using their performances to open difficult conversations, and then facilitating community discussion to unpack the emotional vulnerability and cultural taboos of each show.
In that shared space, "the social value of art made from a place of deep integrity becomes clear: Our actions matter, new ways of living are possible; together we can build a more loving world." As a direct response to broken patriarchy, lonely individualism, and shame-inducing capitalism, Loom says their performances call audiences home to themselves and their communities.
The New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) is working to support developing companies, and in 2022, one of their professional graduates toured with Loom Ensemble, establishing a friendship that NECCA continues by hosting the company's 2023 summer tour.
On Saturday and Sunday, July 22 and 23, Loom Ensemble will perform their newest piece, Tell Me How You Breathe, in NECCA's backyard, featuring a racially diverse team of professional dancers, musicians, and theatermakers.
Loom calls its work "an outdoor experience of Dance Theater for Collective Liberation, bringing audiences into a world where climate crisis has progressed slightly more than our present day, to play out the interrelationship of institutional power structures and ancestral healing practices. Playful humor, live music, and beautiful storytelling help us lean in to meet these pressing issues."
Artistic Director Neva Cockrell says, "Our work is to reconnect with the earth, with emotional integrity, and with each other. Come, let art remind you of your inherent goodness and our collective ability to heal and create change."
The story centers on the lungs as the site of interconnectedness and the organ of grief. "Who gets to breathe freely, fully, with ease?" is a necessary question for this time, right at the intersection of eco-activism, social justice, and public health.
Organizers say with the nourishment of participatory ceremony and song, Loom grounds this political conversation in the physical body, to incite the radical act of collectively imagining a more just and beautiful world.
The creative team includes artists Hanna Satterlee (Animal Dance), Raphael Sacks (Sandglass), directed by Neva Cockrell (Pilobolus), along with a team of New York City professionals and Vermont dancers. Organizers say "(1)BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and people of color] audiences are especially invited to attend this explicitly anti-racist event."
All ages are welcome. The audience is invited to bring picnic blankets or chairs. Some folding chairs are provided for those in need. The venue is wheelchair-accessible from the parking lot to the performance location.