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On the blog: Collaborative poem video

September 25, 2014
by Sara Olivier, Arts Rapid City

The Passage of Wind and Water Arts Collaborative released a short video clip of the choral poem from their June 2014 performance, Echoing Passages. A Passage of Wind and Water: The Badlands was co-written and arranged by Christine Stewart-Nuñez with contributions from community members*; read by Graham Thatcher, Emily Weber, and Michael Lytle; and filmed by Randal Iverson.

The collaborative is a group of artists who create performance works inspired by The Sculpture Project. Dance, film, poetry, and music come together to communicate our collective stories surrounding the Black Hills and Badlands—the same natural and cultural histories that inspire Masayuki Nagase's Passage of Wind and Water.

Rather than write a "solo" poem from her own perspective, Christine held poetry workshops in Rapid City and reached out to local high school students. Writers and non-writers from the Black Hills area submitted prose and poetry inspired by the Badlands landscape and their personal experiences. Christine arranged their words to create a choral poem — a piece read by multiple voices — to further convey the work's multiple sources and collaborative genesis.

"I wanted to dilute my own voice, my own perspective, and my own limited experience with the Badlands; I wanted to take a 'background' role in the creation of this poem," explains Christine.

As the collaborative's choreographer, I believe that as an outgrowth of The Sculpture Project, the work of the collaborative strives to complement what Passage of Wind and Water is accomplishing as public art. Our purpose is to share our community's collective stories and our shared sense of place—what unites us as people living in rural South Dakota. We are all affected by drought and natural disasters. We all celebrate the bounty and beauty around us. We all learn from our past, and harbor hope for the future. What I love about creating art, is that each person can shed a unique light on what it means to be human. We all share the same story from a different angle. This is why collaborative projects are so intriguing to me, I get to be part of something larger than myself. We get to listen to many voices.

The collaborative will continue to create and perform alongside Yuki's five-year process. And, as Christine describes it, "The spirit of Passage of Wind and Water is collaborative and community-based," so there will be more opportunities to participate and submit work for upcoming poems.

The collaborative is also available for outreach, demonstrations, and short performances for local schools and organizations. For more information, contact me, Sara Olivier, by email at

Read more about the Arts Collaborative and find links here.

* A Passage of Wind and Water: The Badlands contributors include: Marissa A., Kylie Archer, Chris M. Barger, Nicholas S. Bintliff, Alani Black Elk, Andrew Brehn, Matthew Carlson, Grace Chappell, Jasmine Coyle, Claire Davis, Libbie Dorris, Naomi Even-Aberle, Mary Alice Haug, Destin Herrington, Nanci Jennings, Kenny Kaufman, Wila Kent, Adrian Kotermanski, Nicholas Lembke, Lou Long Wolf II, Avendah Lowe, Wendy Lowe, Bill Lytle, Rosemary Dunn Moeller, Jack Morgan, Bradley Nichols Jr., Heidi Parker, Olivia Poulsen, Marshall Raeburn, Madison Renfield, Bruce Roseland, Bill Schulz, Ellie Sheffield, Kaden Sitts, Elizabeth Smith, Dan Snethen, Markus Sonnenfield, Caroline Booth Stafford, Ken Steinken, Sandy Swallow, Makayla Taylor, Destiny Thiemke, Kyleigh Thomas, Terrell Viher, Jasmine Walker, Trey Wright, Aspen Wilson, Patrick H. Wyss, Adison Young.





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