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Slippery when wet 

Zoetic Dance Ensemble splashes into Centennial Park

If you're in Centennial Olympic Park this weekend and you see eight women in vintage bathing suits and swim caps splashing in and out of the fountain jets in synchronized dance moves, you're not tripping out. You're just witnessing Zoetic Dance Ensemble's Catch & Release, one of Flux Projects' latest commissions.

Atlanta arts supporter Louis Corrigan founded the organization in 2009 to encourage and support public art projects in Atlanta. Whether it's stacking donated ladders in Freedom Park for Rise Up Atlanta, filling Lenox Square with dancers on a busy holiday for Bloom, or turning street harassment on its head for I Go Humble, Flux Projects engages Atlantans with art in everyday places.

"Centennial Park is just a wonderful public space in Atlanta where people are already going and enjoying the park," says Flux Projects executive director Anne Dennington. "We liked Catch & Release because it won't just be a dance performance outside. It's very site-specific. The dancers are working with what's there and adding something to how people are already experiencing that space."

Zoetic artistic director Melanie Lynch-Blanchard explains that the idea for Catch & Release came about as the group was contemplating the environment, in particular clean water as a natural resource and its increasing scarcity.

"Water is so contentious," says Lynch-Blanchard, who choreographed the piece. "The piece is very much about the drive we have coming off the Industrial Revolution to control nature, to own it, to build dams, make canals. But in the end, we won't win. The piece is about learning to release that drive for control."

Catch & Release begins as a happy, nostalgic idyll, with the dancers enjoying the fountain in a series of moves that recalls the movements of synchronized swimmers. But as the soundtrack shifts from foghorns to the more agitated and rhythmic sounds of house music, the dancers begin to seek control of the water. The dance becomes a struggle for dominance, one that incorporates water balloons and a mud-covered Slip 'n Slide.

Lynch-Blanchard says she hopes Catch & Release will stimulate contemplation about human interaction with the environment. "The transition has to take place in us before we can live in peace with our environment," she says. "Catch & Release is about that need to find a balance."

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