Serenading Pangolins by The ART FISSION Company

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The Preschooler has outgrown PLAYtime! and The Little Company’s productions (and we didn’t care much at all for iTheatre), and I am always on the lookout for high-quality, professional, age-appropriate performing arts for her to view. So, to beat the haze (*cough cough*), earlier this afternoon we saw Serenading Pangolins: An ARTS FISSION’s Young People Environmental Dance-Theatre Production at Drama Centre Black Box.

The Young People Environmental Dance-Theatre Production is staged annually by The ARTS FISSION Company, and tackles environmental issues through contemporary dance. The hallmark of these production is the inclusion of child performers alongside company dancers. These young performers are students of the arts granary, a dance, theatre, and art enrichment program for children ages three to fourteen that is facilitated by The ARTS FISSION Company’s resident artists.

Serenading Pangolins tells of the plight of of the pangolin, an anteater species threatened with extinction due to loss of habitat and the illegal poaching of its scales. The Preschooler was enchanted by the young performers and her eyes sparkled when the child dancers performed, and was utterly thrilled when she and other audience members were invited on stage to participate. She also appreciated the company dancers’ rather acrobatic style of contemporary dance. Of the professional performers, dancer Yarra Ileto, a graduate of LASALLE College of the Arts and who played a mother pangolin whose young is snatched from her, had an incredible presence and was the most skilled dancer by far.

The performance also served as an excellent introduction to thinking about the costs of urbanization (planet, people, etc.), and allowed us to make connections between what she saw on stage and what she is experiencing every day—the haze. I look forward to seeing next year’s Young People Environmental Dance-Theatre Production!

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