May 9 – 13, 1988
Original score composed for the site by Dalton Winslow.
Dancers: Ann Badami, Julie Benolken, Blanca Brichta, Mei-Tine Chong, Mary Crimi, Susan Hoffmaster, Jackie Marano, DeeDee Russeth, and Susan Woods.
In 1988, the building that housed Humphrey institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota was new in the scene. To work with the dance students from the University of Minnesota Theater Department seemed like a wonderful match: to place dancers on the nine terraces on the exterior of the building! The dancers were performed at noon each day, Monday through Friday, on a week in May. It never rained! The movement began very regimented, geometric, using only the vertical and horizontal planes. As the piece went on, the dancers began to include more off-center and diagonal repertoire.
Setting and Music
The Humphrey Institute’s Yvonne Cheek was very receptive to the idea, especially since no plants had yet been started on the terraces. The dancers were able to rehearse on site. Trumpets were chosen as the instrumentation for the original composition created specifically for the site by Dalton Winslow. The tone of the dance was triumphant and celebratory.
The costumes reflected architectural elements. The extended horizontal white cloth exactly matched the horizontal run of the exterior. Because there were three levels, and three terraces on the first level, the dance was choreographed for nine dancers: three per level. The theme reflected the three primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. These also echo back to the De Stijl art movement which embraced geometric lines and the three primary colors. The movements played on the theme of vertical, horizontal, and then at the end brought in the diagonal.
The dancers were all students majoring in dance at the University. For the performance, the composer/conductor and musicians were placed on a side cantilever, and had to climb up and down a ladder (removed each day during the performance) whereas the nine dancers were able to step out the window onto their dancing places. Not that this was a walk in the park! They had to crawl out onto the terrace, and then deal with stumbles of plants, wind, and watch their footing. They also could not see each other, at the beginning, do it was fantastic to have them so highly accomplished.