Six Foot Wingspan

Dance and Artist Residency with Sarah Bush Dance Project and Audubon California

Photo: Sarah Bush Dance Company

We are a collection of artists and creations exploring and deepening our awareness by tuning into the birds.

Sarah Bush Dance Project is known for their award-winning intergenerational dance theater performances.  Sarah and company have spent several seasons creating site-specific and site-inspired works. The company has developed a This Land creative process of using the senses to generate language and movement. They have been studying birds, bird language, and bird movement as part of this artist residence.

What does a FEELING, an AWARENESS, look like and sound like?

That’s a question that will lead us into Sarah Bush Dance Project's 14th season. We’re thrilled that our 2020 residency has been extended and we’ll be continuing our Audubon partnership in 2021. We are making a collection of dance films to bring the viewer inside the sensory experience of the birdsit. The #sixfootwingspan flock of artists gather weekly. Through birdsits, writing, movement, creative direction, research, and conversation we work together to deepen our connection with birds and to shape stories, visuals, movement, and sound to share with audiences and invite the public into these experiences

Our 2020 season clarified that we can adapt the how, what, and where we create and it’s the why and the who that are the essential heart of the project and the consistent thread.

The who:

Dancers include Frances Teves Sedayao, Joan Lazarus, Sue Li Jue, Richelle Donigan, Risa Ofelia Diaz, KJ Dahlaw, Julianna Cressman, Sarah Bush, Sarah Cabigas, Audubon bird language guide Molly Tsongas, filmmakers Lindsay Gauthier, Clare Schweitzer, Aleksey Bochkovsky, composer Miles Lassi, video effects Artist Olivia Ting, and couture designer Colleen Quen, sculpture artist Kasia Krzykawska, makeup artists Lyle Mackston, Tamiko, Cphotographer Alex Matt, and production manager Jeanie Walsh.

The why:

Connection. Connecting matters. Connecting to YOU, to each other, to our communities, and also to the rest of the natural world and creatures around us, helps us repair our relationships to ourselves and to one another. It broadens our scope of awareness and expands our consciousness to consider other ways of living.

"I didn’t think I’d be making dances that imitated bird gestures, and yet, just yesterday I watched a duck raise itself up vertically from the surface of the pond with a stretch and fluttering of its wings and found myself attempting to replicate those miraculous mechanics of levitation." - Sarah Bush

Dance Films

Enjoy these dance films that explore emerging themes around birds and conservation through movement, music, and expression. 

Film #1: Fire. Wood. Space. Air. Earth. 

This film is in dedication to different approaches to fire management and sustainable ranching practices to help restore and sustain grassland bird species and habitats. 

DANCERS: Sarah Bush, Julianna Cressman, KJ Dahlaw.
DIRECTOR: Sarah Bush
CHOREOGRAPHY: Sarah Bush and KJ Dahlaw

Thank you to Dash Weidhofer at Audubon’s Bobcat Ranch for touring the dancers through the landscape and ecosystem of the property. Thank you to Olivia Raine for sharing knowledge about fire management in grasslands. Thank you to Sonjia Shelly and the Yolo County Audubon phenology team for including Sound Designer, Miles Lassi, on one of your tours.

Film #2: Contact Call

A contact call is a type of call used by birds for the purpose of letting other birds know their location. We listen for these calls to learn the language of the birds and to make contact with the more-than-human world.

DANCERS: Sarah Bush, Julianna Cressman, KJ Dahlaw, Risa Ofelia Diaz, courtney hope, Frances Teves Sedayao


DIRECTOR: Sarah Bush

CHOREOGRAPHY: Sarah Bush and cast

THANK YOU: Lisa Harding, courtney hope, Drey Pax And to the land, the plants, the ladybugs, the birds.

Mindful Birding and Bird Language
Bird Sits

Mindful Birding and Bird Language

How to mindfully listen to what the birds are saying

Read more

American Crow

Latin:  Corvus brachyrhynchos

Illustration for American Crow

Steller's Jay

Latin:  Cyanocitta stelleri

Illustration for Steller's Jay

California Towhee

Latin:  Melozone crissalis

Illustration for California Towhee

Dark-eyed Junco

Latin:  Junco hyemalis

Illustration for Dark-eyed Junco

Nuttall's Woodpecker

Latin:  Dryobates nuttallii

Illustration for Nuttall's Woodpecker

Western Kingbird

Latin:  Tyrannus verticalis

Illustration for Western Kingbird

Great Egret

Latin:  Ardea alba

Illustration for Great Egret

Anna's Hummingbird

Latin:  Calypte anna

Illustration for Anna's Hummingbird

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