July 7th | Posted In Philadelphia

INVISIBLE RIVER – The Intersection of Dance, Sustainability, and the Schuylkill River

By Rudy Flesher


As a young Philadelphian and a former YIP Board member, I love Philadelphia, and INVISIBLE RIVER encapsulates everything Philadelphia that I love. It is unique and home-grown, and it takes place in, on, and above the Schuylkill River. The show combines dance, art, boating, and love of sustainability in a celebration of the Schuylkill River. It will be performed twice this weekend, on Saturday & Sunday July 12th & 13th.

The show includes a musical ensemble, a freestanding abstract sculpture of native birds suspended above the Schuylkill, and aerial dancers who fly beneath the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and sail on a boat that glides along the water. Returning to the docks, a chorus of dancers builds a landscape of running and flocking, movement that ebbs and flows out of the landscape creating an ephemeral experience not unlike that which we experience in nature.

In addition to the July 12 and 13 performances, the organization is working with students from area schools to teach the next generation of performers and artists about creating environmental awareness through their work. Audiences are encouraged to bike to the event via the Schuylkill River Trail and leave their cars behind! Bike racks will be provided and limited car parking is available. To my mind, this is the perfect way to truly engage Philadelphians in intimately experiencing a vital part of our city, and understanding how to steward it.

Want to get involved? There are several ways! First and foremost, as volunteer coordinator for the project I am calling for volunteers who want to help with things like boater check in, parking management, and other on site tasks. All volunteers can see the dress rehearsal from the shore on Friday evening. Any interested volunteers can email

Additionally, the public is invited to view the event either day from the shores of Kelly Drive for free or tickets are available to join a moving boat flotilla and see the show from the water. The flotilla departs at 6:15 P.M. from the Dragon Boat Dock at 1233 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in West Fairmount Park. The majestic assortment of kayaks, dragon boats, skiffs, and rowboats will make a two-mile loop to the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and back. Free viewing on Kelly Drive starts at 7pm and can be seen from the Rowing Grandstands and the East Park Canoe House parking lot by the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.

Leave a Reply

The comments are closed.