We are the River is a site-responsive dance performance created by Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Gerard Minaya, and Emma White Thunder incorporating installation, music, and video in a meditation on nature, interconnectedness and the history of place and displacement along the river which connects the Catskills through Frenchtown and Philadelphia to the ocean. Created during a two-week residency at ArtYard, We are the River commenced with dancers crossing the Frenchtown Bridge to Lenape Park and continued in a procession to the ArtYard theater, ending with a communal lantern walk to the River’s Edge. Four local dancers chosen from the community accompanied the joyous procession and acted as guides. Esther Baker Tarpagas work is an offering of kindness and connectedness in response to the anger and aggression of our times. 


6:00 PM
Procession crosses the Frenchtown Bridge to Sunbeam Lenape Park.
Please assemble in the park to watch the crossing.

6:15 PM
Procession proceeds down the rail trail to the ArtYard loading dock installation.

6:30 PM
Procession enters the gallery and theater, and performance begins inside.

7:15 PM
Lantern walk ends at the river.



We Are The River

Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Emma White Thunder, Gerard Minaya


Manuel Lopez, Jessikah Goodale, Bonnie Pariser, John Augustine


Black Elk

Toni Morrison, I Am Not Seaworthy

Rainer Maria Rilke, “let this darkness be a bell tower”


Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project

Technical Support:

Steve Maiorano, Eric Fiorito, Chris Langhart, John Chester from ArtYard


Esther Baker-Tarpaga is a choreographer and performance artist. She co-directs Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project and is a co-founding member of Propelled Animals, an interdisciplinary arts and social justice collective and recipient of a 2019 MAP Grant. She is part of Earthdance’s Interdisciplinary Artist Consortium and is an incubated artist at Headlong Philadelphia. She currently teaches at Temple University, Schuylkill Environmental Center, and the Philadelphia Dance Academy. She recently performed at No New Idols in Riga, Latvia, Grinnell College, The Englert Theatre, Tamadia Arts Festival France, The Wassaic Festival NY, and BAAD!ASS Women’s Festival Bronx. She is a 2019 recipient of a NY Foundation Emergency Grant and lives in Philadelphia with her family.

Instagram: @estherbakertarpaga

Emma Lynn Rose White Thunder was born in Port Townsend, Washington. Raised by a single mother, she is the youngest of four siblings, two brothers, and a sister. Living mostly in the Pacific Northwest, the family had traveled back to South Dakota when she was young to visit her father on the Pine Ridge reservation. Emma received a full scholarship to attend The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, where she acquired a BFA. Her work explores themes of depression, sexual trauma, self-acceptance, anxiety, isolation/loneliness, and their antitheses. Looking at the feeling of a memory, she pulls from the strong range of emotions that it evokes; Using a variety of familiar materials, she then translates these emotions into physical objects.

Instagram: @emmawhitethunder

Gerard Minaya is a first-generation Dominican-American, Bronx native, Queer-Afro-Latino dance artist who’s inspired by movement pathology that exists, collides, and possibly move through generations. Upon receiving his BFA in Dance at University of the Arts, Gerard has presented his work at WeWork’s Harlem Renaissance: A Night of Poetry, Panoply Performance Laboratory, The Iron Factory, and BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. He was also featured in Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company’s work, “Truth Don Die”, at the Bric House Theater. Gerard is a current company member with Ballet Hispanico’s BHdos and Curet Performance Project.

Instagram: @_boogie_shoes

Photographer’s credit:
Hailey Bruinsma

facebook: HBru Photography (facebook.com/hbruphotography)
Instagram: @hbruphoto

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