The Yadkin River has been a source of life for the people in its valley for hundreds of years, and celebrating that life force comes in many forms. Whether tubing, paddling, fishing, or creating beautiful art work, the river is a place of solace and enjoyment.
A new year-long project commissioned by the Yadkin Arts Council enhances the beauty of the Yadkin River, incorporating graceful dancers in the photographs taken by Christine Rucker.
John Willingham, president of the arts council, approached Rucker about collaborating on a project coined “Dance for the River.”
When the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center opened in 2010, Rucker was the opening exhibit in a presentation called “Yadkin River Story,” in the Welborn Gallery, Willingham said. The show “featured photos of the Yadkin and the people who live along it.”
The new show, “Dance for the River,” highlights the Yadkin River again. “This unique collaboration with photographer Christine Rucker, the Yadkin Riverkeeper and the UNC School of the Arts shows the beauty of the Yadkin while making us aware of the threats the river is facing from pollutions and mismanagement,” Willingham said.
Rucker said the project brings together dance and photography to educate the public about clean water. “The Yadkin is North Carolina’s second longest river and one of the largest watersheds in the state,” she said. “However, so few people have awareness of the river’s beauty, and its importance when it comes to providing clean water. I wanted to show an uncommon perspective about the river, and offer an unusual way for people to learn about its benefits to our region.”
Lindsay Craven, executive director of the arts council, explained that the show is more than just a photography exhibit. It also will include a mini-documentary about the project, a 15-minute performance by the dancers from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, some of who were featured in Rucker’s photographs, and a question-and-answer session with members of the Yadkin Riverkeeper, Rucker and the dancers.
The collaboration on the project included Christine Rucker Photography, Phoebe Zerwick, Helen Simoneau Danse, UNC School of the Arts’ School of Dance, Yadkin Arts Council, Yadkin Riverkeeper and Wake Forest University’s Humanities Institute. Sponsors for the program include Wells Fargo, the John W. and Anna H. Hanes Foundation, the Yadkin Arts Council and the WFU Humanities Institute.
The show opens Oct. 21 with viewing beginning at 6:30 p.m. followed by the interdisciplinary performance around 7:45 p.m. in the Willingham Theater. The events are free, but reservations for the performance are strongly encouraged due to limited seating.
Craven said the performance will be live streaming on the television in the gallery, and can be streamed into the cafe if needed.
There will be food, beer and wine available in the Third Branch Cafe during the opening.
The exhibit will remain on display for the public through Nov. 27, then it will travel to cultural centers along the river and be on display for one to two months at each location, including Forsyth County in spring 2018, Lexington in summer 2018 and Salisbury in fall 2018. Also, an educational performance, choreographed by UNCSA dance students, will take place in schools in each area. Educational packets along with a teaching guide and the Waterkeepers Carolina Report will be provided to classrooms as well.
For reservations to the performance on Oct. 21, call the Yadkin Arts Council at 336-679-2941.