2016 Dunes Blowout: A Festival of Performance and Ecology


South Shore Dance Alliance

In September of 2016, Save the Dunes and our partners will present the 2016 Dunes Blowout: A Festival of Performance and Ecology. This event will observe the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the 90th anniversary of the opening of the Indiana Dunes State Park, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the 100th anniversary of Indiana’s state park system and the 200th anniversary of the State of Indiana.


The crowds at the original Pageant of 1917

Our festival is inspired by the Great Dunes Pageant of 1917 that took place at the Indiana Dunes. The Pageant drew 40,000 people and approximately one thousand actors, dancers, choruses and orchestras were recruited from universities and high schools to perform. The Great Dunes Pageant  was originally titled “Saving the Dunes Pageant”. It was the beginning of the movement to save the Dunes.

The “2016 Dunes Blowout: A Festival of Performance
and Ecology” will interpret the relationship between arts and ecology and celebrate the community that has grown up around this unique natural resource. It will include actors, dancers, musicians, and like the pageant of 1917, it will be a spectacle that celebrates landscape, imagination, theater and change. The project has already been recognized by the Indiana Bicentennial Committee as an Indiana Bicentennial Legacy project to celebrate the cultural past and present of Indiana.


Indiana Ballet Theatre

There will be a dance in the historic style of the 1917 Pageant of the Dunes by  Indiana Ballet Theatre on the beach at sunset. The festival will include a dance performance about native plants of the Indiana Dunes by Pine Elementary Magnet School for the Arts students. Long Beach resident  David Hoppe, will be writing a readers theater piece based on the seminal book on our region, Sacred Sands by Ron Engel. This performance will be directed by John Green, the chair of the theatre department at Columbia College and will include local performers. The South Shore Dance Alliance will be commissioning music by Kenneth Ware, an Indianapolis Native, now living in San Diego, and will use some of their most successful graduates to choreograph an original piece to tell the story of the dunes. Patti Shaffner will be opening and closing the festival with an original song about the dunes and will lead an interactive improvisational singing circle. We will be featuring a jazz band performance by the Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Academy.

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Patti Shaffner

The ever expanding list of partners and performers includes the following:

  • George Rogge
  • Indiana Ballet Theatre
  • Indiana Arts Commission
  • Miller Beach Arts and Creative District
  • National Park Service
  • NoExit Performance of Indianapolis
  • Patti Shaffner
  • South Shore Arts
  • South Shore Dance Alliance
  • Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Academy


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