Orlando (2002)

Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s gender-probing novel Orlando, this dance explores sexuality, transformation, and history. Sperling portrays the sexually-ambiguous protagonist first in his youth as an aristocratic, gallivanting male in the Elizabethan era and then imagines his subsequent transformation into a woman. Among other sources, the movement for the dance draws on galliards (jumping dances) described in Thoinot Arbeau’s 1589 Orchésographie. Michelle Ferranti’s daring costume highlights the hero/ine’s blurring of sexual identity. Quentin Chiappetta’s original score features driving percussion rhythms. (12 minutes)

CHOREOGRAPHY: Jody Sperling / DANCER: Jody Sperling
ORIGINAL SCORE: Quentin Chiappetta
LIGHTING: David Ferri / COSTUME: Michelle Ferranti


“As Woolf’s gender-shifting hero-heroine, the corseted Sperling dons a jockstrap and makes sure it shows through her bloomers like a codpiece. Sometimes she’s tough, lashing the air with a stick, sometimes softer, and sometimes indeterminate as she jumps through a modern equivalent of the Elizabethan galliard. You feel confusion seething, as if her sensibilities were changing in spite of her.” –Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice