“Eyes had swam and fancy rioted in an orgy of luminosity.” – anonymous newspaper clipping, c.1909
Loie Fuller’s original Ballet of Light (1908) was a cinematic spectacle involving the projection of images—including the sea, icebergs, snowstorm, fires, space, and an aurora borealis—onto transparent gauzes hung at the front of the stage. Her company of young dancers, known as the “muses,” danced barefoot and in “the flimsiest of draperies” behind and amongst the drop-screens, whirling their silk scarves to catch and reflect the projections in visually hypnotic ways.
With a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts/American Masterpieces program, the University of Wyoming commissioned Sperling to re-imagine Fuller’s original. The result is a delightful romp through many geographic visions. In keeping with the mission of Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance, this project involved the mingling of serious scholarship with active choreographic imagination. In Fall 2008, the work was set on students at Barnard College and performed in the company’s season at the Ailey Citigroup Theater.