Everglades hosts ballet for Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

EVERGLADES - On a beautiful day, in a beautiful place, hours from the nearest road, deep in the Everglades we went.

And what we found is something you'd never, ever expect to see in this place routinely full of surprises.

Dancing. In a most unlikely setting.

Amid barking orders of  'rolling,'  'take 14,' and 'action,' a small crowd of film crew members, national park rangers and photographers are watching the graceful dancing of an attractive young woman and a handsome young man, locked in a slowly undulating embrace, barely clothed.

They are dancing on a wooden platform built a few feet above the water, ten yards from saw grass and trees, in the warm glow of a setting sun.

A film crew is capturing this dance as part of a performance that integrates the video with live performers on a stage at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts near Washington, D.C., part of Wolf Trap National Park.

It's a means of portraying the beauty of nature and the challenges of environmental protection.

"What we're trying to do with these projects," explains Terre Jones, the president of Wolf Trap Foundation, "is to capture the spirit, the essence of the park itself. And tell that story in a way that people might not normally look at it. So, through dance and music, we're able to evoke emotions - help people understand the issues in a different way. And I think if we can help people see it differently, I think we can wake them up."

Indeed, the romance, grace, dignity of the dancers is parallel to the romance, grace and dignity of the very nature surrounding them.

Choreographer David Parsons guides the dancers in their own special language. No music needed. The dancers feel it instead. They are music.

"It's amazing," says Parsons, "because we're all in concrete all the time! You know, we're all in buildings."

Parsons sweeps his arms across the breathtaking panorama of the endless Everglades and says, "And so it's been great for the dancers because we've been digging down deep, you know, and getting' primal. Seriously, man! You forget, we're animals!" He laughs with glee.

Again, Parsons sweeps the horizon. "We forget where we come from. And this is where we come from."

The shoot represents the seventh time the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts has done a special performance in one of America's national parks - paid with private donations.

Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan Kimball has seen a lot of things in the park. "But we've never had dancers in the park," he says with a smile.

Asked what he thinks, he replies, "Spectacular!"

"And we're trying to connect with people. And I think this will connect this park with a whole, new audience," he says.

The dance and film crew told Kimball and his team they wanted the best spots no matter how remote or difficult to reach.

"Yeah, they wanted to go way deep," Kimball says. "And we told ‘em the right season to come. We recommended they not come in mosquito season."

Kimball chuckles and looks again toward the dancers, surrounded by the beauty of his park.

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