Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven

Odes to Love and Loss


Arvo Pärt
(Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, 1977)


Ulysses Dove


Eva Säfström

Scenic & Costume Design

Jorge Gallardo

Original Lighting Design

Björn Nilsson

Lighting Design

Randall G. Chiarelli


24 minutes


6 dancers


April 29, 1993; Royal Swedish Ballet

Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere

November 2, 2006; restaged August 19, 2009 (Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival)

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.

Program Notes

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.

Notes by Doug Fullington.