Coyote's Song

An Environmental Dance Production for Kids

all music copyright 2012 richard johnson, Charcoal Media, ASCAP

about Coyote's Song

Coyote’s Song uses environmental issues as the subject for our dances to teach members of the community about the concerns in a fun and memorable way.

After writing a children’s story based on a specific green theme, in collaboration with ArtPlay, we read this story to children at Operation Breakthrough and the Rose Brooks Shelter. From the story, children are encouraged to draw characters, act out scenes and create imagery for the production using nothing more than their individual creative inspiration.

Our set design team, costume team, and choreography team then use the children’s feedback as a means to develop the essence of the production. After the choreography has been completed, the production is then taught to a new group of children, ages 10-18, who will have the opportunity to perform the dance in front of members of the Kansas City community.

This years final production was performed at StoneLion Puppet Theatre’s Green Festival on May 1st, 2010, at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City.

about the music

Working on this project has been a pleasure from the beginning. When I started participating, there were only vague notions of a theme for the collaboration. Bit by bit, pieces started falling together, and along with that came my ideas for the music I would compose to accompany the dancers.

As a story began emerging, and a layout for the tale took form, there was a need to work on specific cues. Inspired by the spirit of several songs shared by the choreographers, I attempted to compose a sound that was both familiar and unfamiliar, a hybrid of world cultures that was not foreign to a young American’s ear. I drew from sounds of Japanese, Arabic, Indian, and Irish music to start, and eventually incorporated the songs of animals themselves to create an ethereal soundworld, as can be heard in "Natural Harmonies." The music of the trash monsters came as much from the shredding and tearing of paper as the groggy contrabassoon, incorporating a sense of the recycling theme in the score itself.

It had been my hope that the music and the choreography would develop side by side, not with one dictating the other, and I am pleased to say that that is exactly what happened. Coyote's Song was a complete collaboration, from start to the last performance. Here's hoping that there are more performances to come.


duration: ~18 minutes