Wabi Sabi at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

If visiting the Atlanta Botanical Gardens is on your list of things to do this summer, allow me to virtually beg you to go TONIGHT, Thursday August 22nd.

The reason: the Atlanta Botanical Gardens is never quite so enchanting than when the aesthetics of gorgeously-cultivated flowers and plants are paired with the emotional power of beautiful dance:

Wabi Sabi - Atlanta Botanical Gardens - Photo by Bonnie Moret (2)Photo credit: Bonnie Moret

Wabi Sabi - Atlanta Botanical Gardens - Photo by Bonnie Moret (3)Photo credit: Bonnie Moret

The dancers are part of Wabi Sabi, a relatively-new dance troupe that simultaneously gives emerging choreographers a platform upon which to create and present new works, and also infuses new creativity into the Atlanta Ballet’s repertoire.

Wabi Sabi - Atlanta Botanical Gardens - Photo by Bonnie Moret (4)Photo credit: Bonnie Moret

Started in 2011 by company dancer John Welker, Wabi Sabi is opening its 3rd season with performances of seven new works in various natural spaces in Atlanta. I was fortunate to see Wabi Sabi last week, when they performed during Cocktails in the Garden at the Botanical Gardens; the swooping, sweeping, feather-weight dance engendered in me an even deeper connection to the space than previous visits have done.

The short video below is a great introduction:

 

When you arrive tonight, you’ll be given a program that tells you the time and location of each of the seven performances.

As you stroll through the botanical garden’s Imaginary Worlds exhibit, expect to stumble upon dance performances blossoming (see what I did there?) at the Rose Garden, the Aquatic Plant Pond, the Great Lawn, and more.

I found the choreography to be whimsical at times and achingly beautiful at others, each piece set to musical scores ranging from Beethoven to Jay Electronica to Frederic Chopin.

Wabi Sabi - Atlanta Botanical Gardens - Photo by Bonnie Moret (1)Photo credit: Bonnie Moret

I would like to give a standing ovation to the choreographers, whose mastery of the human body showed me muscles I didn’t know existed, and synched up not only the dancer’s bodies but their energies as well. I met Michael Smith right before watching the piece he choreographed for five dancers (entitled Intra Lobus Temporalis, performed on the Great Lawn) and marveled at the way his choreography dominated the vast space, all under a blanket of open sky.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if there is truly something magical about seeing dance in a botanical garden. All of those plants – cleaning the air, giving off the energy of aliveness (if that makes any sense), and calming your senses with the freshness of early evening – definitely help you relax after a long day at work.

The name wabi sabi comes from a Japanese worldview that finds beauty in the sincerity, simplicity, and integrity of the natural world. Bravo, Wabi Sabi dance troupe, for bringing that ethos to life.

I encourage you all to go to the Botanical Gardens tonight; these amazing dance performances are included in the price of admission, and is the perfect way to unwind. ♥

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