Walker Art Center

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Performing Arts 2005-2006

By Philip Bither

Dear Friends,

In just a few short months since its opening, the Walker Art Center’s incredible William and Nadine McGuire Theater has assumed an essential role as a new home for performance innovation locally and nationally. In the face of declining funds for art and artists nationally, particularly risk-taking art, this is an explosively hopeful thing. Our first full season in the expanded facility injects the most daring and exciting music, dance, and theater we could find around the world into the new body of the Walker.

We’ve invited three of the fiercest and most influential women making dance today—Sarah Michelson, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, and Meg Stuart—to bring their powerful and intimate dance works to our stage in rare U.S. performances. Audacious theater comes from manically inventive auteur Lee Breuer, who brings small men and tall women together in a grand-operatic dismantling of Henrik Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE; techno-visionaries the Builders Association get behind today’s headlines to wonder about the theft of your personal data in a dystopian examination of new data bodies; and our long-standing Out There Festival of new performance examines the captivating and diverse ways projected image and live performance are uniting to make a vitally new kind of stage art.

It’s also a season of unlikely marriages, as is often the case with art at the edge—Mekons’ leader Jon Langford puts old-time, rough-hewn country music together with an anti–death penalty point of view; jazz composer Myra Melford and her killer trio combine Japanese butoh, video, new music, and architecture; a one-day mini-festival spotlights the groundbreaking improvisational work of composer John Zorn; and artists from West Africa, Argentina, New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis combine traditional, electronic, experimental, and popular musical forms in a series of world music and avant-rock events.

We also remain committed to local partnerships offering performances in the right spots—this season with Northrop Auditorium (with whom we copresent dance masters Merce Cunningham and Bill T. Jones) and the Cedar Cultural Center (with whom we copresent Mali’s Tinariwen).

We look forward to welcoming you to our first full season in our new home. The McGuire Theater is everything we had hoped for—inviting and beautiful, with superb acoustics, exceptional sight lines, and state-of-the-art technical capabilities. The unique combination of our large stage and a relatively small number of seats offers unforgettable performance experiences. Be brave. Have fun. Open up to joy and provocation, inspiration and surprise.

Philip Bither,
William and Nadine McGuire Senior Curator, Performing Arts