Invisible River Celebrates Our Waterways
Invisible River presents two exciting events in their July festival that will make you rethink your relationship with the Schuylkill River. The festival kicks off July 15th with Beck Epoch, a two-night aerial dance performance above the Schuylkill River. The festivities continue on Saturday, July 16th with Schuylkill River Arts Day (SRAD), a day-long celebration of the Schuylkill River through performing arts and water activities. Events are free to the public and feature live performances by local Philadelphia artists including the African Diaspora Artist Collective, Almanac Dance Circus Theater, Positive Movement Drum Line, and others.
The Schuylkill River and riverside trail are well known as popular destinations for recreation, but for Invisible River director Alie Vidich and her team of water visionaries, the Schuylkill is much more than that. The Schuylkill (a name which derives from the Dutch for “hidden” and “creek”) is the birthplace of Philadelphia, a continual natural resource, and a source of creative energy. Invisible River’s aim is to build community around a shared sense of place through the arts and to encourage stewardship for Philadelphia waterways.
The artists performing in SRAD explore how movement-based practices can transform our understanding of Philadelphia’s rivers. Festival artist Anna Kroll, performer and co-creator of River Mermaids, describes the festival as an event designed to bring “more attention to bodies of water so that people care.” Part of this is “spending more time looking” at the water through artistic engagement and “forcing yourself to notice something that is prominent, but taken for granted.” For Kroll, being on the water in a boat is a meditative experience, when time seems to slow as the current moves past.
In Beck Epoch, the audience can watch aerial dancers, suspended from the Strawberry Mansion Bridge above the Schuylkill river, swivel and turn against a dramatic backdrop of vibrant sheets. Co-choreographed by Vidich along with choreographer and dancer Tatiana Hassan, Beck Epoch builds on past Invisible River performances to speak to Vidich’s six year artistic exploration of the Schuylkill River. Audiences can view the performance from either the riverside bank or can rent a kayak or canoe and view the show up-close from the water. To rent a boat, buy tickets in advance here.
Speaking of family fun water activities during SRAD, audiences can boat, enjoy free fly fishing and casting lessons, participate in water-based science activities presented by Fairmount Water Works, and try out team-building challenges lead by Outward Bound. Refreshments and food are available from Philly favorites Gigi’s & Big R Caribbean and American Soul Food. The festival begins at 10am with a procession from Mander Recreation Center lead by Positive Movement Drum Line.
July 15 + 16 at 7:30pm
Strawberry Mansion Bridge in Fairmount Park, 2200 Kelly Drive
Schuylkill River Arts Day
July 16 from 10am to 2pm