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MERGE: Penelope Freeh & Alanna Morris-Van Tassel – Livestream

March 12, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm CST

On Friday, March 12, 2021 at 7:30pm CST, Penelope Freeh, alongside collaborator Alanna Morris-Van Tassel, will perform LIVE for an audience of cameras. Their concert can then be accessed on demand through Sunday, March 14.

Please note: Ticket purchasing for Opening Night closes at 5:30pm CST!

This performance was originally slated to happen one year ago. We, in parallel with our venue, the Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Arts in Minneapolis, decided to postpone one week prior to our premiere due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are overjoyed to navigate this moment through continuing to create and perform, doing so safely, with no folks in seats, but with cameras rolling. Carrying many weights of responsibility at this time, we understand our privilege in being able to share this work now.

Get tickets here.

The Program:

Opening: Film by Alanna leading into her work Black Light re-Search

Black Light re: Search is a collaborative solo work-in-progress that ventures into the nobility of black-ness; the divinity of the feminine expression/creative energy; and the harnessing of the sensual expression. Alanna has undertaken this journey to unmask herself, influenced by masquerade traditions of the Nagot-Yoruba people (Orisha of Nigeria) and its archive in the Caribbean nations of Trinidad, Tobago, and Grenada.  Audiences are invited to engage in a work that exalts mythographies of life and death, birth and creation, and venerates ancestors who have cleared the path. We honor these guiding forces throughout the presentation. She is joined by a cast of 10 collaborators: dancers, musicians, poets, healers, and designers who are prominent practitioners in their respective avenues of contemporary and traditional performance, healing arts, and design. Black Light premieres at The Great Northern Festival as a full-evening, kaleidoscopic, multidisciplinary work in January 2022.

Our duet: Bring it down under your feet

“We’ve connected through the poetry of Rumi, valuing process and output equally, sharing hearts and time in the studio and on Zoom. Researching our lived experiences through the lens of shared and respective grief, we aspire to empower radical transformation from the inside out.” – PF and AMVT

My solo: Penelope – a cabaret

By way of excavating personal mythologies, this work wryly reimagines Penelope of Ancient Greece as a German Weimar-era cabaret performer. Aiming to reclaim hyper-feminine physicalities of a bygone era, the work curates the gaze, controlling what is and isn’t seen. Inspired by the subversive content of cabaret and pre-code film, the objectification yet erasure of women in chorus lines and corps de ballet, and the tensions between onstage and off, it stakes a claim by unraveling deeply personal material through fierce embodiment.

“Mythic material was originally oral, and also local – a myth would be told one way in one place and quite differently in another.” – Margaret Atwood: Introduction to The Penelopiad

 Penelope – A Cabaret features live piano accompaniment by Marya Hart, original lighting design by Valerie Oliveiro, and project mentorship by Randy Reyes. Sound design includes the work of composer Jocelyn Hagen (a past McKnight winner).

*This work contains adult content.

Portions of this content were developed upon land originally belonging to the following peoples: Sioux and Wahpekute (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN); Adena, Hopewell, Miami, and Shawandasse Tula (Springfield, OH); Tutelo (Roanoke, VA). Through my dancing and embodiment, I work to honor them. 


March 12, 2021
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm CST
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