Christina Catanese is an environmental scientist, dancer/choreographer, educator, and arts administrator in Philadelphia. As the Director of Environmental Art at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Christina oversees all aspects of creating and implementing an environmental art exhibition program in gallery spaces and on the nature center’s 340 acres of forests and fields, as a complement to other educational programs to inspire meaningful connections with nature. Christina has a Masters in Applied Geosciences from the University of Pennsylvania, complementing her BA at Penn in Environmental Studies and Political Science. She also knits, teaches yoga, and enjoys photographing ecology at varying scales while hiking.
As a scientist (hydrology) and an artist (modern dance), I am deeply excited by the possibilities for collaboration and intersection between these two fields. There is much shared – wonder, curiosity, experimentation – along with distinct approaches and knowledge sets that when combined, are incredibly exciting. Working in science communication led me to integrate my art and science pursuits. In striving to make environmental science more accessible to a broad audience, I became acutely aware that art can illuminate natural processes, communicate meaning, and make deep connections. Bringing art and science together invites us to reconsider our relationship to the natural world, and how we exist in it.
I explore scientific and ecological processes in my choreography. I am interested in the ability of dance to take processes that happen over an incredibly long time scale and distill them down to a human scale moment. The immense gap in scale of human time versus ecological or even geologic time often leads to a lack of awareness and understanding, in a culture used to receiving information instantaneously and in sound bites. Fundamentally rooted in a moment of performance and in the human body, dance can make large, abstract processes and issues incredibly personal.