Jennifer James, the artistic director of Borderless Arts TN’s dance company, and I had a conversation in the summer of 2022. We were discussing the idea of having the dance group do a dance that was based on sign language and silence. Of course, the first song that came to my mind was the song, Sound of Silence.

From that small seed, a much larger project has developed.

Sound of Silence began last Wednesday with 10 Borderless Arts participants working with set designer, Joe Mobley, at the Nashville Children’s Theater to learn set design skills. These participants will meet every Wednesday for the next 5 weeks not only learning about set design but creating their own set. This set will be used by the Borderless Arts TN dancers for a performance.

As Jennifer and I continued to discuss the silence dance idea, we began to consider the true power of silence. Most people think of the spoken word as having power, which it does, but silence is also powerful. Silence is found when people are silenced for various reasons from sharing their thoughts and ideas. Silence is found at the gravesite in grief. Silence is found in the Deaf community with the physical aspect of not being able to hear. Silence is found in reverence as people worship God. Silence is found in the comfortable moments shared between two people who love each other. Silence is found in our moments of Awe as we gaze on the face of our newborn child, or the glory of a sunset, or the wonder of the Grand Canyon.

We found that one song and one dance could not adequately share the role that silence plays in our lives.

Therefore, the Borderless Dance Community has taken on an ambitious challenge to prepare a 45-minute show that will be free and open to the public on Saturday, March 9 at 3:30pm at the Nashville Children’s Theater. This program will be presented with the backdrop of the set that is also being designed by Borderless Arts participants.

This is going to be a powerful show that you are encouraged to attend!

The Set Design project is being supported by a Tennessee Arts Commission Arts Access Grant.

The Borderless Dance Community is supported in part by a SUP grant of the Tennessee Arts Commission.