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Connecting Food and Dance

Dance Program Students Tell the Story of Farming Through Movement

Mandy Scheffler’s passion for dance goes beyond the studio. She collaborated with a team of University of Idaho students and faculty to connect movement to the rolling hills of the Palouse.

Their project highlighted the ways food sources are taken for granted by connecting dance movements to the beauty of the local fields where the food is grown. The team partnered with Washington, D.C.-based Dance Exchange, an organization that guides dance groups through linking dance to social movements.

“There are so many ways to approach dance, and you can be inspired by so many different people and experiences,” Scheffler said.

The Granite Falls, Washington, native connected with the project because of her lack of knowledge and exposure to farming growing up. Pursuing this project allowed her to learn about farming through community and her peers.

“We studied movement in a new way, and we had to apply concepts that are almost never connected to dance,” the junior said.

The team also met with local farmers to hear their stories. As a team, they transformed these narratives into a dance that they filmed in the fields. Working directly with the community members was the most powerful aspect of the project, said Scheffler.

“It was amazing to work with community members to learn to drive movement in ways we never had before,” she said.

Article by Katy Wicks, University Communications and Marketing.

Photos by University of Idaho Photographic Services.

Published in March 2021.

Two dances perform inverted kicks in an outdoor amphitheater.
Mandy Scheffler and her collaborators like fellow dancer Allysen Olsen connected dance movements to the beauty of the fields where the food is grown.

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