Homeworld is a drop of water on the moon. It is the catalyst of life.
It is a teeny, tiny ecosystem that is home to billions of cells,
organisms, and creatures of the unknown.
Habitat of the underwater crustaceans known as Flurzos.
It is a safe space in an ever-changing universe.
HOMEWORLD is a gentle dance performance created for babies, ages 3 to 18 months, and their caregivers. It takes place inside an immersive installation inspired by coral and oceanic creatures. It's an intimate collage of electronic sounds, surprising movements, and interactive play with soft objects.
Each element has been chosen specifically to activate the baby’s curiosity, stimulate their awareness, and encourage interaction through movement and play. Three performers fill the space with playful dances, inviting the audience to follow their curiosity inside this strange new ecosystem. Employing a dramaturgy of the senses, Homeworld is a beautiful, relaxed space where families with very young children can enjoy the experience of live performance together.
Through a series of developmental Play Sessions, we are engaging a Creative Council of Babies and Caregivers to inform and shape the direction of HOMEWORLD to best suit the needs and attention of our audience. HOMEWORLD is designed to reach babies and carers of all abilities through the interplay of their senses and gentle guidance from warm undersea creatures. HOMEWORLD is a space where everyone belongs.
PERFORMANCE FOR BABIES? WHY ARE WE MAKING IT?
The first year of a baby’s life is a critical time for their neurological development. It is vital that the baby encounters environments that are safe and stimulating, but also unfamiliar, in order to learn how to follow their individual curiosities. These experiences forge new pathways in the brain that support confidence, social skills, and an understanding of causal relationships.
During this first year, babies are also forming a lifelong attachment to their caregivers. Learning how to play and investigate freely within new surroundings supports the formation of a secure attachment. The installation for Homeworld provides an opportunity for babies to discover new people, textures, sounds, and ideas while their caregiver is close by; allowing them to play, search, explore, and return to their carer as a secure home base.
Integrating live performance into a child's creative education from the start not only aids cognitive development, but supports the discovery of self and the child's capacity for empathy. We hope, also, that Homeworld will create beautiful, lasting memories during a time that can often be so isolating and lonely for new parents and caregivers.
The birth of a NEW community practice
In 2019, Ninth Planet's Sam Tower and Nia Benjamin entered into a year-long research project with Michael O'Bryan, Founder of Humanature, and Director of Learning at the Village of Arts & Humanities. The focus of the research was on the intersection between community arts and public health, and how artists could build programming that involves citizen performers in a deep, impactful way.
You can find a current copy of the report here.
We want to express deep gratitude to Michael O'Bryan, who helped inform our learning, and Dr. Megan Corrado, DSW, LCSW, who continues to support our artistic work wholeheartedly. They are our continued guides and thought-partners on this work, and have brought so much depth to our work.
The report features interviews with the following people:
JJ Cutuli, Senior Research Assistant, Nemours Children's Health System
Eden Koffey, Registered Public Health Nurse, Founder of Kith & Kin playspace
Kevin Carter, Clinical Director at Uplift Center for Grieving Children
Samantha Rucker, Psychotherapist, Therapy Center of Philadelphia
Lauren Jost, Artist, Founder of Spellbound Theater for Children, ages 0 - 5
Rhona Matheson, Executive Director of Starcatchers, Scotland's National Arts and Early Years Organization
Special thanks to the Homeworld Creative Council of Babies and Carers for their contributions!
C.W. Kennedy & Lyra
Regan Buker & Eleanor
Bill D'Agostino, Carrie Nielson & Anya
Rosemarie McKelvey, Nathan Foley, James & Theo
Daniella Gunn & Londyn
Kinny Peterkin, Jennifer Hatch & Remy
Liam O'Donnell, Susan Tindall, & Maeve
Victor Hernandez & Camilo
Elizabeth Belcher, Lu Deng & Anji
Ross Hoffman & Ambrose
Becky Wright, Adriano Shaplin & Ida
Jeanette Gonzalez & Dorien
Abigail Henry & Apollo
Miriam White & August
Meg Wynes & Van
Nailah Bright Draper & Brighton