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Since the camera eye sees differently than the human eye, these video excerpts from the performance of Last Gasp! (First Draft) at the BAAD!ASS Women’s Festival on March 9th make BAAD!’s intimate space seem huge.


Glad to have photos of Last Gasp (First Draft), my new piece. Many thanks to:

  • photographer Jane Schreibman who brought her strobe with umbrella as well as her considerable artistry to the studio on Sunday to take well–lit pictures of a rehearsal for the new solo I will be performing at the BAAD!ASS Women’s Festival on March 9th
  • graphic designer Chris Deatherage who magically made the heating pipes, radiator, and tape on the marley floor disappear
  • and Ingrid Kullberg–Bendz for passing along this amazing gown that took over seven hours to hem!


For two of the three sections of Last Gasp! (First Draft), I am working with recorded music by two wonderful living composer/performers, Briggan Krauss and Mary Jane Leach. I am grateful for permission to use their music—and to speak over parts of it. I met each of them about twenty years ago, and we have all continued to create and perform new work since then.

Briggan Krauss is a key player in New York City’s downtown and creative music scene, known for connecting extreme edges of technique with the unexplored tonal possibilities of the saxophone. His most recent solo album was recorded at the Saalfelden (Austria) Jazz Festival 2017. He is a composer also interested in electronic music and sound art, and Descending To End was his highly acclaimed third release for Knitting Factory Records. Krauss is currently a professor in the Performance and Interactive Media Arts [PIMA] MFA program at Brooklyn College. For more information see and

It’s been a busy year for Mary Jane Leach, with concerts in far–flung locations—Winnipeg, Milan, Florence, London, Knoxville, and Hong Kong. Two older pieces became “hits” with their release on a Blume LP, Pipe Dreams. “Feu de Joie was written for bassoonist Shannon Peet and is an homage to the bassoon and its wonderful sound. Since my primary interest in writing is to hear what happens when notes are combined, I didn’t want to write a solo piece for just one line of music, so I wrote Feu de Joie for six taped bassoons and one live bassoon (the concert format).” For more information see

This year, on March 9th at 8 pm, I’ll be performing a new solo, Last Gasp! (First Draft), at the BAAD!ASS Women’s Festival. I’m delighted to have been invited back to the festival for a third year and to have been allotted more time on the program with each invitation.

With mordant humor, talking as well as movement, video projections, and colorful costumes, my new piece, Last Gasp! (First Draft), considers personal end–of–life preparations within a perspective of possible planetary apocalypse and/or exhaustion.

March 9th is also the day after International Women’s Day and the day before the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising in 1959. In 1959, March 9th was the day Barbie was launched, and in 1961, March 9th was the day Sputnik 9 carried — and successfully returned from orbit — a dog named Chernushka (Blackie), nameless frogs, and a guinea pig.

Movement and writing, the politics of language and thinking, embodied mind, the mind–body problem, and the origin of language have all come up for consideration in recent discussions, workshops, and reading:

  • At Movement Research’s “Moving Into Writing,”—the long table hosted by Eva Yaa Asantewaa at Gibney Dance Center—several dancers/movers/dance–makers/teachers considered the printed word essential, necessary validation and legitimization of our ephemeral medium, whether as explanation of one’s own work, as critique, or as history.
  • Two nights later at a discussion on “The Politics of Language” with Masha Gessen and Siri Hustvedt moderated by Ulrich Baer at Deutsches Haus, NYU, the focus was on the ways language has been used as an exercise of power that deliberately distorts and confuses meaning and delegitimizes social and scientific norms and structures—both in the past and currently.
  • The next day I attended “A Field Guide to iLANDING,” a workshop led by Andrea Haenggi and Carolyn Hall based on iLAND scores, including one that involved moving, kinesthesia, and writing that Andrea and Rob Neuwirth had created. At first it was quite challenging to be conscious of feeling one’s pulse while walking along the street and also seeing, hearing, thinking, and breathing. Ditto for typing up recall of these kinesthetic, auditory, and visual sensations while still feeling pulse and breathing.
  • Then, reading about politics and the brain: In neuro–linguist George Lakoff’s book The Political Mind: Why You Can’t Understand 21st Century American Politics with an 18th Century Brain, he writes that the way the brain functions, with mirror neurons firing empathetically, points to a positive emotional foundation for reason, and suggests that we are actually hard–wired for democratic values of empathy and protection—of each other, all living beings, and the environment. He has co–authored another book called Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought, which I am curious to read as I suspect that, for him, embodied mind is the brain.

At the end of the above–mentioned discussion at Deutsches Haus, Hustvedt, a writer who also teaches in a psychiatric training program, announced that she had written a book called A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, and that in it she had solved the mind–body problem.

This led me to recall that, many decades ago while interviewing for a teaching job in an interdisciplinary program at a college, I had naively yet confidently stated that from a dance perspective there was no mind–body problem. My theologian interviewer found my statement shocking and offensive and, needless to say, I was not offered the job!

Coming full circle to the “Moving Into Writing” long table mentioned above, I was recently reminded that philosopher Suzanne Langer had posited that people danced before they were able to speak and that dance was the origin of language.

More thoughts to come.

Before the May 14th performance at The Construction Company’s Sunday Series at University Settlement (clockwise from top left): Maisah Hargett, Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz, yours truly and Kaoru Ikeda. Audience comments after the performance included: “beautiful, bizarre, impressive—and funny.”

The Lemonade Variations transforms again, reflecting and responding to the many rapid changes in our current zeitgeist. You can see the latest iteration on the Construction Company’s Sunday Series on May 14th at 3 pm.

Ingrid Kullberg–Bendz and I will be joined by two new powerful performers, Maisah Hargett and Kaoru Ikeda.

University Settlement, 184 Eldridge Street (at Rivington)

Admission is $10. Seating is limited. Reservations at 212-924-7882.




St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery is a truly magical as well as historical space, and it was a pleasure to perform The Lemonade Variations at DraftWork at Danspace Project last Saturday, February 25th.

Choreographer Sally Bowden, who had seen the trio excerpt at Judson in November 2016, e-mailed me: “I thought your piece went very well and looked very good. I was surprised to find four dancers in it, but it seemed to work well that way. I thought the four of you were clearly individuals and, at the same time, cohesive.”


Other feedback included my Japanese-American niece seeing Kabuki gestures; a friend enjoying the humor; and a chi kung student writing that she appreciated “the opportunity to experience a compelling piece of work. The unity of space, music, and sculptured movement was fascinating.”


Video captures, top L to R: Laura Shapiro, Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz, Mari Sakahara; middle L to R: Celeste Hastings, Laura Shapiro; bottom L to R Mari Sakahara, Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz, Laura Shapiro. For more images, click here.

Mari Sakahara has recently joined Ingrid Kullberg–Bendz and yours truly to complete the cast of The Lemonade Variations for its upcoming performance at DraftWork at Danspace Project on Saturday, February 25th at 3 pm. The piece has not only grown in length but is also infused with different ideas than the version performed in November. DraftWork is free and open to the public, so you are welcome to join us if your schedule permits. Please note that there is no late seating and my piece may be performed first.


lemonade-rehsearsalI have returned to the studio with performers Ingrid Kullberg–Bendz and Irene Siegel to prepare for our upcoming performance of The Lemonade Variations. I am choreographing an additional five minutes at the beginning and—as our zeitgeist has changed so dramatically since November—I also am rethinking the section before the ending and considering how these new developments will impact the rest of the piece.

I am grateful for the opportunity to perform and discuss this work at DraftWork at Danspace Project in the beautiful, historical sanctuary of St. Mark’s Church on Saturday, February 25th, at 3 pm. Please note that the performance and discussion are free and open to the public. You are most welcome to attend the performance and, if your schedule and inclination permit, to stay for and participate in the post–performance discussion.