The Dance Center last presented Emily Johnson in 2010, with her work The Thank-You Bar, and we are honored to work with many partners in tonight’s production of Then A Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing At Stars.

This art feels necessary; it feels like we are in a moment when we need to practice different ways of being together. Different models for envisioning the future are called for, and different ways of trying to get to better places. Now seems like a good time to remember where we are, and notice the land underneath us. I appreciate the invitation to look above us at the sky, below us at the ground, and around us at each other.

Then A Cunning Voice raises questions that feel pressing: How do we take care of each other in what may be difficult circumstances? How do we care for strangers as well as our friends and family? How do we take care of ourselves and also take care of the land? But then smaller, personal questions surface as well: When was the last time you looked up at the night sky? When was the last time you stayed awake all night? When was the last time you had a deep connection with a stranger? And of course the big questions and the small questions all weave together.

I wanted the Dance Center to be involved with this project because I wanted us to stretch ourselves and to break us out of our normal way of doing things. I wanted to help create an exercise in paying attention and in fighting against the flickering fast attention span of 2019. I believe Emily and her collaborators have created an experience that allows for extraordinary possibilities, and that we will continue that work together tonight.

                                                                                    –Ellen Chenoweth

The Dance Center presented Emily Johnson / Catalyst’s Then A Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing At Stars starting at sundown on September 28, 2019 at Calumet Park in Chicago.

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