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.

Artist Biographies

Eva Säfström


Swedish-born Eva Säfström received ballet training at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm and at the Rambert School of Ballet in London, and also acquired the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts as a pedagogue for ballet and modern dance at the State Dance Academy in Stockholm. From 1989 to 1990 she danced with the Aurinko Baletti in Turku (Finland) and in the following year she taught ballet and modern dance in Luleå (Sweden), before widening her qualifications as choreologue at the Benesh Institute of Choreology in London. Since completing this course in the year 1992 she has been engaged as choreologue and répétiteur for the Royal Swedish Ballet, and has also worked as choreographic assistant with Örjan Andersson, Ulysses Dove, Glen Tetley, John Neumeier, Jiří Kylián, Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Sir Peter Wright, Pär Isberg, David Dawson, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Marcia Haydée and others. After her first staging, of Mats Ek’s “Lightbeings” for the Hamburg ballet in 1999, she was engaged to rehearse other productions for companies including the Göteborg Ballet, Tartuu Ballet (Pär Isberg’s “Nutcracker”), the Royal Danish Ballet and the Pacific Northwest Ballet of Seattle.