Document(s): Digging up the past: Some thoughts about preserving or reconstructing dance works

“Digging up the past: Some thoughts about preserving or reconstructing dance works” is from the Document(s) series, a library of commentary on people and issues in the dance field. This repository of essays includes interviews by writers and thinkers on dance, as well as “dance discursions,” which offer opportunities for reflection on the field of dance commissioned by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

During the 2005–06 season, Philadelphia company Dancefusion reconstructed choreographer Mary Anthony’s Women of Troy (1954) and, as part of the process, hosted a five-day dance workshop with Anthony and Donald McKayle. Dr. Linda Caruso Haviland prepared this essay for the accompanying symposium on dance preservation, organized by Dancefusion in partnership with Drexel University.

From the essay:

“Every dancer at some time has practiced the preservation of dance. Whether by entering into the process of accumulating the detailed or qualitative elements of a technique, or in repeating a sequence of movements for class, rehearsal, or performance, we have all engaged in recalling, remembering, reconstructing, and preserving dance…

“But beyond the stage and studio, there are also philosophical issues that attend these processes of reconstruction and that are often inextricable from aesthetic and practical problems. Whether a dance was first made five minutes, five months, five years, or five centuries ago, all present some similar challenges. Although a full discussion of these issues could occupy a much larger space, here are eight questions or problems—and few answers—for your consideration.”

Download the essay (PDF) >

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center) today announced 53 grants in support of the Philadelphia region’s cultural organizations and artists. The 2016 awards total more than $10 million and provide funding for 12 new Pew Fellowships, 36 Project grants, and 5 Advancement grants.

Grants & Grantees

Whit MacLaughlin is a theater artist, the founder of New Paradise Laboratories, and a 2002 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Since 1980, Susan Hess Modern Dance has sought to grow the audience for contemporary dance and support independent dance artists in the Philadelphia community.

Headlong second River Charrette will take place at RAIR and will address sustainability issues through art and performance.

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture’s Hazami Sayed on re-interpreting musical traditions for contemporary audiences, raising awareness of Arab arts and culture, and more.

Grants & Grantees

The Leah Stein Dance Company is committed to making dances spontaneously, rigorously, in collaboration, and in connection with the moment, often as site-specific works.

The award-winning choreographer’s striking approach was exemplified in Artifact Suite, which received its Philadelphia premiere with Pennsylvania Ballet in June 2013 performances.

Grants & Grantees

Known for its high energy performances, Koresh Dance Company was founded in 1991 by Israeli-born choreographer Ronen Koresh.

Percussionist and Pew Fellow Pablo Batista presents El Viaje (The Journey), a new performance work.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Christopher Williams is a dancer, choreographer, and puppeteer who has crafted and performed choreographic works in New York City and abroad.

Composer Vijay Iyer and librettist Mike Ladd on creating “multi-voiced” performance projects that draw on veterans’ personal narratives.

Grants & Grantees

Kùlú Mèlé embarked on a two-week residency in Conakry, Guinea with traditional artists Mariama Touré and M’Bemba Bangoura.