Sky Cloud

Original Performance on February 7, 1992

3 dancers running with red fabric - slide

1992 – Dance work created by Maida Withers, a collaboration with Hilda Thorpe, paper maker, sculptor, recognized Washington, DC female artist from the 1950s.  Thorpe created an incredible large fabric installation (white gauze with hand-made paper painted on by Hilda Thorpe) that filled the stage and also stretched out over the audience in the auditorium.  Dancers moved with brilliant colored panels of taffeta, silk, and other brilliant colors of massive sheets of fabric.

Sky Cloud is a “metaphoric dance, the wind, the voice of the Earth,  based on a land site residency by Withers on the exotic White Sand Dunes of New Mexico.”

Maida and Hilda were both friends and collaborators.  Hilda was an inspiring artist.  She took people abroad to draw and paint. She was dearly beloved by all who knew her. She invited Maida to celebrate her birthday on two occasions in her studio in downtown Alexandria, Virginia. Maida enjoyed going with Hilda through the attic looking for objects and ideas for the birthday party performance. She insisted on dancers using her hand held objects made by Hilda from paper she created and then painted. That period of time in art was also interested in architecture that did not hide the heating and air conditioning vents and other functional objects behind walls. We enjoyed using her aluminum pipes turning them into crowns, drums, and other transformations in the dance Rolling Thunder.

Hilda invited friends to her home for a special birthday celebration. She retired to bed earlier because she was feeling tired. When I left, about midnight, I called up the stairs, Good Night, Hilda. I love you. Hilda passed away in the middle of that night. We were deeply saddened and rejoicing in our final ceremony. Maida.

Sky Cloud was part of the evening-length performance, Dance for the Earth.

2dancers forward of red fabriceRev72.
Dancer with purple fabricRev72.
Dana run downstage w red overhead by VincentRev72.
Dana face downstage turning with red fabri slide

Fuscia fabric covers dancersRev72.
Dana face upstage turning in red fabricRev72.
Group falling motionsRev72.
Balance Lorena72.
Stacy w Partner72.
4 dancers hands move off mouth - speak72.
Dancers make sounds and speak as partner behind covers and uncovers the mouth.


What the press is saying

"Dancers manipulate large pieces of materials so that the cloth sinks and gradually recovers- the stage version of the sand under Wither's weight. She explains that the camera is a project participant, the first collaborator on each of her efforts, thus the video is the art form most closely connected to the actual landsite." Kim Friedman