This costume represents air.
This costume represents air. (Hazon)

For Hazon, this is a big step away from what it typically does, now using arts and culture to illustrate that a tree may not be able to grow when the elements are affected by climate change.

For Tu b’Shevat, Hazon Detroit will be presenting a program entitled, “Elements of Life: Moving Together with Nature, Artistically Experiencing the Beauty of Tu b’Shevat,” an interactive, sensory-rich theater experience showcasing the elements that foster the life and growth of a tree. 

The program takes place 6-9 p.m. on Jan. 16 at the Berman Center for the Performing Arts. Specific viewings take place every half hour with six viewings total. 

The JCC Charach gallery exhibit, “Environmentally Speaking,” begins on the same day. “Environmentally Speaking” is bringing together 15 artists from all over the country who will offer their interpretation of how they see the climate crisis. The exhibition will run until March 3 (look for a story about it in next week’s JN). 

Hazon Detroit Director Wren Hack says the two programs are completely separate, though “Environmentally Speaking” spurred Hazon to create its own program.

“When they told us what they were doing and we had a meeting with one of the curators of the exhibit, it was like, wow, we could do something that complements what they’re doing that’s Tu b’Shevat-based,” Hack said. 

Hazon Detroit had artist Laura Earle take the four elements, earth, wind, fire and water, and create interactive sculptures emblematic of each. 

Hazon Detroit also had a clothing designer make one-of-a-kind designs based on the elements, made from all-natural fabrics. Each element has its own design that will be worn by a dancer and that dancer’s moves will be choreographed in such a way that will be emblematic of that element. 

“You’ll move around the Berman Theater coming to each sculpture, and each sculpture will come to life with lighting, music, choreography and dancers, and then you’ll move through the four elements,” Hack says. “All of it ends at the Tree of Life.”

Choreographed dancers will dance around the four elements with the movements representing each element.
Choreographed dancers will dance around the four elements with the movements representing each element. Courtesy of Hazon

For Hazon, this is a big step away from what it typically does, now using arts and culture to illustrate that a tree may not be able to grow when the elements are affected by climate change. 

“What we’re talking about is climate change in a very different, powerful and emotional way. A way of beauty and hope and through the arts,” Hack said. “We hope and believe the message comes through strongly that we are the caretakers of the Earth, and if we want our trees to grow to their full potential, then we must make sure the seed has all that it needs.”

The program is funded through the William Davidson Foundation, D. Dan & Betty Kahn Foundation and other donors.

Tickets are $18 to attend the Tu b’Shevat Seder performance. Call the Berman Box Office at (248) 432-5990 or visit theberman.org. 

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