Without question, Irmgard Bartenieff has had the most influence on my creations. During the 1970s, well before the concept of site-specific dance came into my mind, I studied Rudolf Laban’s concept of Space Harmony with her. My knowledge of Space Harmony has deeply informed how I look at spaces and how people can move within those spaces.
I also learned about Laban leading movement choirs for thousands of people dancing together. This was a stunning thought to contemplate. I was further inspired by dancing in movement choirs created by Bartineff. I watched her create them, and her method influenced how I work with people.
After creating site works for a few years I discovered a photograph from the 1920s that helped me to see that my work was not outre. In 1987, the Walker Art Center here in Minneapolis mounted a Bauhaus exhibit. I vividly remember standing in front of a photograph showing Oskar Schlemmer’s dancers atop the new Bauhaus building in Dessau, Germany. Oh, I thought, here is someone else who puts dancers up on buildings or architectural spaces. I stood in front of that photo for quite a while as feelings of relief and recognition washed over me, and tears came to my eyes.