Dance of the Auroras – Fire in the Sky, DC

Original Performance on February 15, 2001


2001  A Four Part performance:
I: “The Sun/Virtual Sun”
II: “Solar Wind Towards Magnetosphere”
III: “Magnetic Storm Seen from Above”
IV: “View from the Earth”

“A poetic journey through space using real-time interaction with cyber worlds and movies and images of the sun and the aurora seen as a natural phenomenon.”

An evening-length work of dance, music, and visual presentation. A groundbreaking poetic voyage in space from the Sun through Earth’s auroras, the mystic luminaries of the arctic and Antarctic skies also known as the northern and southern lights. In it’s vision, Dance of the Auroras reclaims the connections between science and art, between technology and the natural world. This eloquent and innovative performance draws its audience into a ritual both ancient and new.  Dancers using the wireless mouse alter and manipulate in real time large-scale projected cyber worlds, 3-D animations by Tania Fraga, computer artist. Movies and images of the Sun and the Earth’s auroras from orbiting spacecraft and special ground-based cameras are featured along with music performed live by the Global House Band, Oslo, Norway.  Dance of the Auroras premiered at The Northern Lights Festival in Tromsö, Norway, January 27, 2001 and in Washington, DC at Lisner Auditorium, a 1500 seat theater, on February 15 and 16, 2001. MWDCCo collaborated with Kannon Dance Company to perform in St. Petersburg, Russia with Kannon dancers performing Part III.

A public presentation was given at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum – Albert Einstein Planetarium, Washington, DC the week prior to the premiere in Lisner Auditorium. The evening featured scientist presentations  from NASA and other space agencies in Colorado and a performance by dancers with live interactive virtual worlds by Tania Fraga, Sao Paulo, Brazil.  The event was sold out. It was a powerful moment for both the audience and the Dance Construction Company.


Object Label (184 words)

Dance of the Auroras – Fire in the Sky (
Concept, Choreographer and Artistic Director, Maida Withers
Concept, Graphic design, Implementation, VRML programming: Tania Fraga
Composer and Musician, Øystein Sevǻg and the Global House Band – Elin Odegard, Maria Sevǻg, Ole Marious Melhaus, Øystein Sevǻg, Rune Arnesen, Zotora Nygard, Øystein Sevǻg, Oslo, Norway
Principal Dancers, Maida Withers, Adrienne Clancy, Alexander Kukin (Russia), Iwona Olszowsky (Poland), Joseph Mills, Kerry Joyce, Lauren Sharp, Lyndsey Karr
GW and community dancers, Alexis Major, Alesia Mastromichalis, Andrea Stitler, Candice Gessin, Crystal Faison, Deidre MacDiarmid, Jane Jerardi, Kisty Shimabukaro
Video, Linda Lewett; Video Installation, David Liban
Hand-painted Costume design and execution, Claudette Lopez
Photographs and Poster Design, Adam Peiperl
Animation/Photographs/Images – global support

Sources:  (28:30)  (17:45, excerpts)  (Science Trailer 05:00)

Productions from 2000 to 2003

Full production performed at Nordly’s Festivalen, Tromsø, Norway, January 27, 2001;  Lisner, Washington, DC, February 15, 2001; Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum / Albert Einstein Planetarium, February 14, 2001; St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk, Russia, 2003; Part I at Renato Russo Cultural Center, Brasilia, June 2001; Part III, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2000;  Dance Place, Washington, DC, October 1, 2000


Tania Fraga created the above assemblage of Dance of the Auroras – Fire in the Sky
maida2metro4x5Maida with head thrown backJoseph with NASA Red Sun

Joseph with wings
Joseph for card
Photos of Joseph Mills (above) by Adam Peiperl
Joseph with green projJoseph with sun projection Maida wantsZima - cartwheels.jpg72x2000Threesome in Line 3 emlDCCo_TwoMenZima - Sasah in 2nd position in green aurora8x102 Women lift Joseph 5 eml



What the press is saying

Art and technology may seem polar opposites, but Thursday night at Lisner Auditorium they combined in extraordinary ways. While "interactive" "multimedia" and "online" have very nearly become cliches, Maida Withers and her Dance Construction Company found avenues to enliven the art-technology confluence with the 85-minute opus, Aurora/2001: Dance of the Auroras - Fire in the Sky. Lisa Traiger, The Washington Post Lisa Traiger

Other Performances
  • Nordlys Festivalen (Northern Lights Festival)(map) on January 27, 2001
  • Dukabristov Theatre(map) on July 1, 2003
  • Dance Place (Early Version)(map) on January 1, 1970
  • Smithsonian Air and Space Planetarium(map) on January 1, 1970
  • (map) on January 1, 1970