“Michelson transforms performance spaces in the most extraordinary way . . . It is as if Fassbinder could dance.” —Artforum
Celebrating architecture through choreography, Sarah Michelson premieres Daylight (for Minneapolis), a dance/installation experience inspired by the design of the Walker Art Center’s new building on Thursday–Saturday, September 15–17, at 8 pm, and Sunday, September 18, at 7 pm in the Walker’s William and Nadine McGuire Theater and various public spaces throughout the building. Called “fearless, witty, and completely individual . . . one of the most riveting dancers in New York” (Time Out New York), Michelson brings with her a cast of highly skilled dancers and collaborators, including visual and performing artist Claude Wampter and Dominic Cullinan of Cullinan and Buck Architects, Ltd. Co-commissioned by the Walker, P.S.122, and the National Performance Network Creation Fund.
Based in New York by way of Manchester, UK, Sarah Michelson has designed a work that responds directly to the Walker’s ability to house and present both live performance and art objects under one roof, and the ways they are empowered when viewed and categorized by an audience. Daylight (for Minneapolis), an investigation of space, architecture, and audience perception developed in conversation with expansion architects Herzog & de Meuron, is the second of a three-part work (Part 1 was made for P.S. 122, Part 3 for Brooklyn Academy of Music, both in New York). Each segment lifts conceptual and architectural elements into the other, thereby foregrounding the theatrical sites themselves and forcing the dance to become a miniature study of the American performing arts touring circuit. Daylight (for Minneapolis) is driven by the romance, rigor, and the occasional futility of modern dance and the generosity of its cast and the house that presents it.
One of the most complex and layered developmental residencies ever embarked upon by the Walker and an artist-in-residence, Michelson made three prior visits to the Walker’s new expansion site in various stages of completion. Her residency culminates with a final four-week stay and performances from August–September. She has worked with Walker production crews, support staff, and a cast of 50 local participants (adult women and teen/youth girls) to realize the final stages of Daylight (for Minneapolis). A truly collaborative effort, Michelson and the Walker have partnered with Perpich Center for Arts Education’s dance and visual arts programs to gather a cast of talented young dancers and to execute set pieces for the world premiere work.
Michelson has been making visceral, rigorous, entertaining, and passionate work since 1991. Her work has been presented in New York by P.S. 122, The Kitchen, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, Movement Research at the Judson Church and Improvisation Festival/NY, and by the New Performance Gallery and Dancers Group (San Francisco), Die Pratze Dance Festival (Tokyo), La Porta (Barcelona), and Chisenhale Dance Spac (London). Michelson’s work, The Experts, was commissioned by Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project and toured with the company (2002). Internationally, her work has most recently (2004 tour) been presented by The Cutting Edge Festival, Frankfurt, Germany; The Venice Biennale, Italy; SommerSzene, Salzburg, Austria; Tanz im August Festival, Berlin, Germany; and the Zuercher Theater Spektakel, Zurich, where she received the Der Foerder prize Zurich for best work presented at the festival.
Michelson won an unprecedented second consecutive New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for her most recent work Shadowmann (2003). In 2002, she won a “Bessie” Award for Group Experience (2001), the work that prompted a Baryshnikov commission. In 2002 she was awarded the Arts International DNA project Award. The Lyon Opera Ballet commissioned a new work by Michelson, Love is Everything, which premiered in May 2005. Her work Daylight (co-commissioned by P.S. 122 and The Walker Art Center) premiered at P.S. 122 in June 2005.
Tickets to Sarah Michelson’s Daylight (For Minneapolis) are $20 ($16 Walker members). Tickets are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.