In the Presence of Trees is a yearlong dance theater performance series, to be performed in Hartford and Greater Hartford urban forest locations in 2022-23. The project will engage audiences in a dialogue about the lessons trees can teach us about communities, climate change, and the implications of environmental justice issues and inequities.

JDPP will kick off In the Presence of Trees with a free, family-friendly community launch at Bushnell Park, as Hartford celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmstead, 19th-century America’s premier landscape architect.

From 3:30 pm EDT until 7:30 pm EDT, visitors can view a panel exhibit on tree and forest ecology and Olmsted’s work in Hartford. At 4:30, Matt “Twig” Largess of Largess Forestry will lead a guided tour of notable trees in the Park. Families can ride the Park’s 1914 Carousel from 4:30-5:30 in the shade of a giant Turkey Oak. They can also tour the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch with volunteer Bushnell guides At 6:30, JDPP’s Ensemble will present a dance theater performance among the trees and in the field below in which the dancers perform individual responses to trees, gradually coalescing into group expressions of community and connection with each other and the audience, mirroring that of trees and the ecosystem. Throughout, viewers are encouraged to sense the healing and calm of the forest in its seasonal iterations and how its communication network maintains the health of both individual and community. In this fractured and divisive world that we are living in, In the Presence of Trees asks us to pause, to listen to the powerful energy of the tree, take in its wisdom and sense its messages of community, diversity and healing. A talkback with the artists, artistic director, and visual designer will follow the performance. Throughout the day’s events, attendees are invited to stroll, picnic, and experience the urban forest at Bushnell Park.

Rain date July 26, 2022.