Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven

Music: Arvo Pärt (Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, 1977)
Choreography: Ulysses Dove
Staging: Eva Säfström
Scenic and Costume Design: Jorge Gallardo
Original Lighting Design: Björn Nilsson
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli
Duration: 20 minutes
Premiere: April 29, 1993; Royal Swedish Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: November 2, 2006; restaged August 19, 2009 (Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival)

Lindsi Dec and Batkhurel Bold in Dancing on the
Front Porch of Heaven
. Photo © Angela Sterling

The 2006 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven was generously underwritten in part by Glenn Kawasaki and Winona & Robert Nilan.

Set for three couples in white unitards and subtitled Odes to Love and Loss, Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven was choreographed for the Royal Swedish Ballet in 1993 and received its U.S. premiere in 1996 at the For the Love of Dove benefit in New York. According to New York Times dance critic Jennifer Dunning, Dove “suggests a broken flow of relationships by placing his solos and duets in a chain of white spotlights.” Dove himself explained, “To me, Arvo Pärt’s music can send souls to heaven. I want to tell an experience in movement, a story without words, and create a poetic monument over people I loved.” The musical score, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, is the same used by Susan Marshall for her aerial pas de deux, Kiss.

Recommended Listening:
Arvo Pärt: Sanctuary, Various ensembles, Virgin Classics 45314

Notes by Doug Fullington.

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