Wolf Trap Celebrates our Country’s National Parks: Music, Dance, and the Power of Nature Ignite the World Premiere Performance of Face of America: Spirit of South Florida

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“The arts and our National Parks tell the story of who we are as a people” – Pedro Ramos, Superintendent, Big Cypress National Preserve

Face of America: Spirit of South Florida

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts will premiere Face of America: Spirit of South Florida on September 8, its seventh installment as part of the world renowned multimedia artistic adventure series. Created to celebrate our country’s natural treasures through the performing arts, Face of America: Spirit of South Florida will explore the unique natural and cultural aspects of Biscayne National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Dry Tortugas National Park and Everglades National Park. This special evening combines live dance and music with Parson’s original dance filmed on-location in the parks amidst the wild and raw elements of nature presented on an enormous HD screen at the 7,000-seat Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

What makes Face of America: Spirit of South Florida such a one-of-a-kind experience?

  • Take an inimitable journey through one of the world’s largest ecosystems featuring innovative dance from internationally acclaimed Parsons Dance, live on-stage;
  • Experience stunning visuals of original, Wolf Trap comissioned dance works filmed on-location in each park by renowned producers Blue Land Media;
  • Absorb an unforgettable soundtrack highlighted by a live performance from GRAMMY-nominated, Cuban-American timba band Tiempo Libre and recorded music from multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird;
  • Witness dancers intepreting the movement patterns of iconic South Florida wildlife (alligators, spoonbill, anhinga, egret birds, and fish);
  • Learn of the recreation available in the wilderness and on the water;
  • Identify with the resilient spirit of a population that overcomes the devastating effects of hurricanes and celebrate an island park that welcomes Cuban refugees onto American soil

“We are thrilled to partner with the National Parks in South Florida to shine a light on the many different faces of these special lands—from the diverse people of the region to the varied wildlife to the critical preservation elements. There is so much rich culture here and we think the arts can bring that out in a very unique and meaningful way,” said Terrence Jones, Wolf Trap’s President and CEO, and creator of Face of America.

Site Specific Works Reflect Each Park’s Unique Aspects
Original dance works have been commissioned by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts from internationally acclaimed choreographer David Parsons. The performances will shed light on the different unique characteristics of each park.

At Big Cypress National Preserve, birds are abundant and therefore a theme of the performances on site.

While Parsons said he and his troupe did a good deal of background research in advance that was helpful, he added that most of the preparation related to choreography was perhaps…for the birds.

“Once we were on location we became aware of so many elements in the environment that were important, the arc of the sunlight, the water drops…” said Parsons, in between takes at Big Cypress National Preserve. Working in nature like this takes a lot for the dancers to pull it off.”

“It’s thrilling, exciting, an adrenaline-rush,” said Steven Vaughn, a Parsons Dance performer.

“We are so pleased to be one of the parks selected to participate in Wolf Trap’s Face of America initiative,” said Pedro Ramos, Superintendent of Big Cypress National Preserve. “Big Cypress is very mysterious and can be intimidating for some. What a great way to bring out the magic of this special preserve using the arts.”

At Biscayne National Park, dance sequences celebrate the fish that inhabit the largest tropical marine park in the entire national park system. On Porgy Key, a solo dancer demonstrates the strength with which residents of this area combat and overcome hurricanes.

“Biscayne National Park is an extraordinary place. It is where the tropics meet the northern climate, where currents collide, and an area where people can visit and learn about the marine environment. This project is really a unique and different way to introduce new audiences to the park, and all of these aspects of it,” said Mark Lewis, Superintendent of Biscayne National Park.

At Everglades National Park, performances will showcase alligators, an animal synonymous with South Florida, and the variety of activities visitors can enjoy on the wilderness waterway.

“We have an artists in the park program, but I don’t think we’ve ever had dancers, One of our major goals here is to educate people about Everglades National Park, and for them to come and bring their families, and this is one other dimension of the Everglades that is new, and we think it’s unbelievably exciting,” said Dan Kimball, Superintendent of Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park.

On the final leg of the journey, dancers and crew travelled 70 miles off the coast of Key West to the remote islands of Dry Tortugas National Park. The performances at this location will celebrate freedom and highlight historic Fort Jefferson, which has served as an important safe haven for more than 130 years.

Face of America: Spirit of South Florida will premiere on September 8, 2012 at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, VA 22182. In keeping with Wolf Trap’s mission to keep the arts accessible to the broadest possible audience, prices for this world premiere performance range from $15-$40. For tickets, visit http://www.wolftrap.org.

Background on The Face of America Series
Face of America is Wolf Trap’s original signature performance series, which uses the rich language of the performing arts to celebrate the diverse people, histories, and landscapes that exist in and around its fellow national parks across the country. Launched in 2000, the Face of America series commissions and films original dance performances in national parks to portray the spirit and essence of America’s national treasures. The footage is then integrated with the live performances of dance, music, and storytelling, and presented at the 7,000-seat Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

Face of America: Spirit of South Florida represents Wolf Trap’s seventh installment of its signature performance series
Previous Face of America performances include:

  • Face of America: Yosemite National Park
  • Face of America: Virgin Islands National Park
  • Face of America: Mammoth Cave National Park
  • Face of America: A Celebration of Flight
  • Face of America: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
  • Face of America: Glacier National Park

Video assets:
View a high energy montage of clips from Face of America: Spirit of South Florida at

View our 30 second TV spot at http://youtu.be/7V6DBNudZN0.

Past performances were featured in a 90-minute PBS Great Performances special, titled “Dance in America, Wolf Trap’s Face of America™” showcasing the series and available online at http://video.pbs.org/video/1099370504.

To learn more about Wolf Trap’s Face of America series, please visit: http://www.wolftrap.org/Learn_About_Wolf_Trap/Artistic_Initiatives/Face_of_America_Series.aspx

About The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by Catherine Filene Shouse (1896-1994), produces and presents a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington area, as well as nationally and internationally. Wolf Trap features three performance venues, the outdoor Filene Center and Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, both located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and The Barns at Wolf Trap, located down the road from the park and adjacent to the Center for Education at Wolf Trap. In partnership with the National Park Service, the 7,028-seat Filene Center annually showcases an extensive list of diverse artists, ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to classical music, dance, and theater, as well as multimedia presentations, from May through September. The Barns operates year round, and during the summer months is home to the GRAMMY-nominated Wolf Trap Opera Company, one of America’s outstanding resident ensemble programs for young opera singers. Wolf Trap’s education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, a diverse array of arts education classes, scholarships, and a nationally recognized internship program that was included in Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s 2009 List of “Best Places to Intern.” As part of its ongoing commitment to protect and preserve the environment, Wolf Trap offers metro access and is a founding member of the Green Music Group. Terrence D. Jones is president and CEO of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

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