UWA's young, collaborative artists are dedicated to protecting Earth's wildlife by becoming the voice of animals and the environment.
Though birds may look and act very different from us human beings, there are many qualities we share: Our love of song, our desire to fly, and our ability to see color.
In fact, birds can see colors that are invisible to human beings, making their range of sight far better than our own. Most other mammals can’t see color at all, which makes this common view of the world a unique, and beautiful quality we share with our avian friends.
Unfortunately, the exotic pet industry has driven the extinction of some of the world's rarest, and most beautiful birds. It is estimated that nearly 13% of all bird species are threatened by extinction. Now those are animals we can't afford to lose.
Help us keep them free.
Whether playing a panda in the lowlands of China, or a girl freeing circus elephants, each role is created by the artists with their own, unique voice.
Urban Wildlife offers classes at Salvatore LaRussa Dance Theatre Academy, a non-profit performance arts school located in the heart of Middle Village, Queens. SLDTA offers a number of affordable dance, drama, and art classes including: Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Acting, Production, and Art.
Please visit www.sldta.org for more information.
Embodying the roles of the characters we play is at the heart of all of UWA’s performances.
A MODERN DANCE ORIGINAL:
Deep in Finnywith Forest lives six, tenacious cats. Every day the kind Prince of Finnywith comes to meet his furry friends, and to read them stories while they dance for him in the meadow. But one day, while fishing at Crystal Rill, the prince falls into the roaring stream and is swept away; nowhere to be found. His crown now in the hands of an evil imposter, it will take the love and courage of his six feline friends to save him and his kingdom. If anyone can do it, it's a cat.
Outdoor Performance: June 2018 at Salvatore Larussa Dance Theatre (Middle Village, Queens).
Created, performed and illustrated by UWA's Pre-K modern dancers (at SLDTA).
Book artwork by Dana Leigh Snyder and SLDTA
Every class culminates in a performance by the students/authors. Whether a six-week Summer Camp, or a four-month long class series, live performance is an integral part of Urban Wildlife's active approach to animal awareness.
Classical Ballet and Modern dance techniques are taught in conjunction with performance techniques, offering a physical approach to storytelling.
"The Elephants of Kerala" is a story about seven circus elephants who dream of their home in India, all the while performing circus tricks in America. It isn't until a compassionate ringmaster decides to bring them home, that they finally return to freedom.
Performed by SLDTA Modern Dance Summer Camp. July 2016.
Check out the "Past Projects" section for the full storybook.
Curious about how we do it? You’re in luck! Our young artists occasionally offer Question and Answer sessions after performances to answer audience questions about the artistic process. That’s like, two shows in one!
Before the Great Divide, there was no need for a bridge. All of civilization lived peacefully on one giant continent known as Elerian. Every life had equal value to every other life, and no person (animal or human alike) was left wanting. But a storm was brewing inside. A rift that began in their hearts, but soon became so powerful, that not even the soil could hold them all together. And so the land was broken in two, divided by borders of war and peace, as all the people fell silent within. As darkness falls on this once placid world, hope begins to fade along with the memory of Elerian. Follow the nine brave individuals who will fight to bring civilization back together as they build, The Bridge.
A video art and staged performance art installation by Village Community School. "I am an Animal" was UWA's first community collaboration, and to date, the only performance piece that incorporates live movement, video art, and poetry.
From the Spotted Owl, to the Giant Panda, to one of Earth's most common mammals, the Human Being, "I am an Animal" explores beauty and fragility of some of the world's most unique creatures.
Be sure to watch the "I Am An Animal" video art in in our "WATCH (PAST PROJECTS)" section.
A modern dance piece following the unique stories of four different endangered species as they struggle to live in a world that is quickly fading: The Siberian Tiger being hunted to extinction, the Giant Panda losing her home to deforestation, the Rockhopper Penguin yielding to overfishing and bycatch, and the Sumatran Elephant being killed for her ivory. We follow these animals journey's throughout different parts of the world, and experience the loss, bravery, compassion, and ultimate wisdom that brings them to safety.
Researching the issues that affect wildlife, as well as facts about animal movement, habitats, and behaviors, is an essential part of each class.
Discussing the issues with the public, as well as starting a conversation about wildlife conservation issues, is integral to Urban Wildlife's mission. Talk backs with the artists are typically offered after each performance.
Being an animal is hard. That's why physical fitness and flexibility is a large part of UWA's classes.