‘She Moved the Prairie’ explores women’s labor practices at early 20th century farms

“She Moved the Prairie,”—a film directed by Cheyla Clawson Chandler, Wichita State School of Performing Arts associate director and assistant professor of dance— has been recently featured at film festivals worldwide. Chandler choreographed and directed a dance film.

“She Moved the Prairie” is a 25-minute dance film that focuses on women’s labor practices in the home and on the land in Kansas in the early 20th century. Chandler was selected for a National Tallgrass Artist Residency in 2020 and spent 10 days in June of 2020 creating the movement for the film on location at Matfield Green, Kansas, and at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Strong City, Kansas.

Cheyla received several grants to complete this film project including a Tallgrass National Residency stipend, a Wichita State University Research/Creative Project grant, and support from the WSU School of Performing Arts Angels Organization.

“She Moved the Prairie” is a collaboration between faculty and students from WSU Dance and Filmmaking. Chandler set the choreography with students and guest artist Sarah Frangenberg, which was filmed at her farm outside of Douglass, Kansas, as well as the Shaffer Homestead in Latham, Kansas. A student filmmaker, Caitlyn Cody, was the cinematographer for the project. Bret Jones, professor of performing arts and digital arts, was co-director. The music was composed by WSU graduate music student, M. Joseph Willette.

“She Moved the Prairie” has been accepted into several online and international film festivals. These include Roma Short Film Festival (Rome, Italy), Toronto International Women Film Festival (Toronto, Canada), Montreal Independent Film Festival (Montreal, Canada), Full Shot Cine Magazine Online International Film Screening, Mannheim Arts and Film Festival (Mannheim, Germany), Nahui Ollin Film Festival (Durango, Mexico), and Kadoma International Film Festival (Osaka, Japan).

For information about future screenings, please email cheyla.clawson@wichita.edu