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Illusions of Grander

The historic rapids of the Grand River (for which the city of Grand Rapids is named) are submerged beneath water held back by several dams, with many consequences for all who call the river home. But a major upcoming project will remove the dams to restore and reveal the rapids. Water science and river dynamics informed this choreography, incorporating movement qualities of slowness, wideness, and blockage that characterize the current Grand River, and the quick, lively, free quality of the past and future river and its rapids. This piece seeks to embody these dynamics and imagine the diverse, often unseen life forms that we share the river with. The film's setting is the Grand River and Fish Ladder Park, which was built in the 1970s to help migratory fish continue their journey upstream that was blocked by the dam. It also serves as a public gathering space by the river for fishing and recreation.

Choreography, concept, and direction: Christina Catanese

Dancers: Amber Casillas, Johanna Greenway, Lachan Jaarda, Alisa Lindsay, Saxony Matousek-Beals, Arye Shannon-Carmichael, and Lindsey VanDenBoom

Music: Lazuli Bunting by Andrew Bird (used under an ASCAP license)

Videography and editing: Forrest Page Photography


Premiered as part of Atelier Dance Company’s inaugural season in 2021. Atelier's purpose is to create a space for classically trained adult dancers who miss creating and performing with other artists. With few opportunities for adult dancers who have chosen other career paths, Atelier Dance Company provides a place for artists who want more than an adult dance class but less than a professional career in dance.

Instagram: @dancingriverc @atelierdanceco

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