During SUBICE’s 43 day voyage, I got to dance on sea ice 12 times. As the science mission concluded and the Healy headed south we left my dancing habitat behind. In the marginal ice zone, we encountered broken up floes and jumbled bits of brash. From the deck, I spotted one dirty disintegrating floe, less than a few paces in either direction, that had a seal hole and polar bear tracks on it. Soon we rolled into open water and I felt adrift.

On my first few forays onto the ice, the snow was thick and the ice hard. Air temperatures hovered in the 12-18F range. I danced quickly, with breath steaming from my mouth and jogging between takes to stay warm. As our journey progressed, the air warmed to around freezing, the snow thinned and the ice began to soften.

We had parked on one ice floe for three days, from June 3-5 and later returned to the same piece of ice (in new locations) on June 15 and again on June 17. It was amazing to see the Healy’s tracks so undisturbed and both times we glided smoothly into our old parking space. From the bridge, I could see a dark patch off the bow where my footprints (from dancing in a squall) was starting a melt pond. During the return visits, I found new dance haunts off the vessel’s port side.

Each dancing “venue” offered a different panorama of sky and ice. Often, the ice and sky formed a uniform grey. Sometimes, a blue band appeared at the horizon (indicative of open water in the distance). On rare days, glorious sunshine illuminated the sea ice topography. Here are some images of my various stages during SUBICE 2014.

About The Author

Jody Sperling

Jody is a dancer, choreographer and writer based in New York City. Founder and Artistic Director of Time Lapse Dance she seeks to glean as much as possible about the sea ice to find ways to express its dynamism and fragility on stage.

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