“Only the Sky Will Stop Me”: African Women Changing Contemporary Dance
Where do we begin the conversation about the extraordinary contemporary dance movement afoot in Africa and some of its stellar young leaders? Will entrenched biases distort even fresh discussions about the continent? Dr. Joan Frosch looks at the work of choreographers Kettly Noël, Nelisiwe Xaba, and Mamela Nyamza.
Dance, Senses, and Distrust of the Body
Miguel Gutierrez as told to Michèle Steinwald
Distrust of the body, says firebrand dancemaker Miguel Gutierrez, is part of the reason why dance is sometimes perceived as a second-class art form: “There’s an idea that to go into an exploration of the body is this indulgent, non-rational thing.” In a recent conversation, he discusses dance, the senses, the mind/body split, and his new performance, And lose the name of action.
The Trace: Searching for the Imprint Movement Leaves Behind
As we consider new ways of looking at performance objects in a museum setting, we can’t ignore the ways physical movement has shaped them. The Walker’s acquisition of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s collection of costumes and decors has researcher Abigail Sebaly asking, “How do the various rubs, pills, and scuffs indicate an imprint of the movements that were performed in them?”
Performing Through Crisis: Patrick Scully on Art and AIDS in the 1980s
Patrick Scully as told to Paul Schmelzer
Turning 27 in 1980, Patrick Scully left the dance collective he called home to work independently and “explore what being gay meant to me as an artist.” A decade that began with optimism yielded surprises as political conservatism, the destruction of his downtown block, and AIDS rocked his world. For our continuing series reflecting on the Twin Cities in the 1980s, Scully shares his memories.
Identity and Institutionalization: Dorit Cypis on Minneapolis in the ’80s
Dorit Cypis & Yesomi Umolu
For Israel-born, California-based artist Dorit Cypis, the Twin Cities was home for much of the 1980s and 1990s, decades when she says the arts became institutionalized, identity politics became entrenched, and her own art more deeply embraced both politics and performance. For our ongoing series Then and Now: The Twin Cities in the 1980s, she shares her memories of a turbulent decade.
The Walker Joins Minnesota’s Arts Community in Opposing Marriage Amendment
The Walker proudly joins with 120 cultural organizations in endorsing the Minnesotans United for All Families Campaign, which is working to defeat the marriage amendment on the ballot November 6.
Human and Natural Ecologies
“If we compartmentalize the environmental question, the whole earth burns, so we might as well get everybody in any way that we can,” says Marc Bamuthi Joseph, whose new Walker-commissioned performance examines issues of environmental justice. red, black & GREEN: a blues uses hip-hop, spoken word, and audience participation to expand the discussion about how to define that “environmental question.”
In Bill T. Jones’ Story/Time, the MacArthur “Genius” and Tony-winning choreographer takes inspiration from John Cage’s 1959 work Indeterminacy, sharing a series of poetic reflections, organized by chance and punctuated by dance and music. In the spirit of the performance, we offer a series of short reflections by Jones from a recent interview with performing arts curator Philip Bither.
For five decades, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and the Walker have had deep ties, from commissions and residencies to a 2008 performance in a granite quarry and the Walker’s acquisition of the company décor and costumes in 2011. Fittingly, when the company performed for the last time on New Year’s weekend, Walker staff, including its director and performing arts curator, were in attendance.