Image from Steve Bowers

A narrative dance depicting events during the Great Expulsion from Earth, found in many variations on planets throughout the Terragen Sphere, but most, if not all, have developed from an original dance performed by the inhabitants of Earth itself.

The following account is adapted from a description found in the novel Betrayals, available here.

Dancers dressed as animals and dancers dressed as hunters follow each other round the arena; then warriors bind both groups, hunters and hunted, with scarlet ribbon. More dancers arrive wearing steely blue, grey or black, boxy costumes, with patterns resembling windows, or wheels and gears, and bearing written words in the ancient languages of Earth. This part of the dance represents the change from a gather-hunter existence to a city-based industial civilisation.

Next silvery, slight figures arrive, representing the techocrats of the first centuries after Tranquillity, after humanity set foot on the Moon. These dancers carry a great, elaborately patterned sheet between them; hidden beneath the sheet another, more menacing dancer is at first concealed.. Shaggy, hung with myriad knotted ropes and tubes, this dancer starts to rampage around the dance area, and every dancer that it touches falls lifeless to the floor. This dancer represents the Technocalypse that threatened the Earth at the end of the first Interplanetary Age.

Now a final figure appears; a woman, she is dressed in blue and white, with long silken streamers like clouds. She rises from behind the other dancers, and performs a long and elaborate dance with the Swarm monster; often she is forced to the floor, but rises again, but not until she cuts the ribbons binding the animal dancers is she able to drive the swarm away. This part of the dance represents the use of biospheric geocomputing by the Gaia defence system, a process which led to the first transcension in history.

After vanquishing the swarm, the dancer representing the Lady Gaia frees the hunters from their bonds, and gathers all the steely grey dancers that represent human civilisation. Next she banishes them all from Earth, each banished dancer making a circuit of the arena before exiting. The Lady Gaia watches this procession, using traditional gestures to show that the time has come for the Children of Earth to leave their childhood home.
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 06 March 2009.

Fiction relating to Earthdance

Betrayals, the first full-length Orion's Arm novel available here.