Whale Memorial


"Between 1920 and 1970, two million whales were killed…nearly half of the females killed have carried an unborn whale." 

- Faith McNulty, The Great Whales


THE WHALE MEMORIAL DANCE is an interactive multimedia performance piece that includes spoken word, music, film, and improvisational song and movement. The form is inspired by Gillian Kapteyn Comstock’s (Metta Earth Institute) Quantum Community Project. The moving parts include live reading of two true stories about compassionate interspecies relations accompanied by Chris Botti’s Hallejulah (Leonard Cohen) off his December (2006) and a 10-minute film featuring an improvisational chant by VIDA with live improvisational dance. The full production has not been recorded and the film portion does not stand alone, but is available for preview.

A dance of the shadow, THE WHALE MEMORIAL DANCE remembers the compassion that may ensure survival in light of social neglect, cultural difference and misunderstanding, and brutal competition. This improvisational work is designed to change according to the specific losses experienced by members of each community that hosts a performance and is ideal for multiple-day gatherings and conferences where performers and participating community members can reflect and engage in restorative justice dialogue.

Please be in touch to discuss hosting THE WHALE MEMORIAL DANCE. 


THE WHALE MEMORIAL DANCE was produced as part of my graduate work in environmental and grief studies with attention to the human emotional and spiritual response to mass species extinction and genocide.

THE WHALE MEMORIAL DANCE debuted in 2007 at the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. In 2008, Culture and Animals Foundation (CAF) granted funds to support performances and promotion of THE WHALE MEMORIAL DANCE. CAF funds supported two performances: an April 2008 performance at Indiana University Bloomington presented in conjunction with a lecture from Dr. Lori Marino on cetacean intelligence and sentience, and an April 2011 performance during Naropa University’s Earth Day celebration.

THE WHALE MEMORIAL DANCE was accepted for presentation at the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture’s 2010 annual conference in Perth, Australia and for workshop presentation to the  International Ecopsychology Society Conference in Uruguay September 2017. The invitations were declined due to insufficient funds.

Motivation to promote THE WHALE MEMORIAL DANCE online (December 2011) led to the conception of EXTINCTION WITNESS.