State of the Art

Original Performance on May 15, 1986

1986 – State of the Art examines the conflict of art and the artist in American society. The rapid development of arts management looms as a potential to independence and innovation by the artist.  Press Release:  State of the Art is a seduction of the dance artists by the business of dance.  The question, “Does Dance as Business pose a threat to Dance as Art?”  State of the Art is a powerful dance-drama based on today’s artist’s struggle to survive the socio/economic demands of the 1980s.  Maida devised a list of statements by leading dance artists and sometime managers and asked the audience to match the statement with the artists name.  In 1986 perhaps the relationship of management and dance was more intense than today.  Management continues to be a problem for the dance artist and is continually of concern to Withers when the focus shifts from questions related to art and becomes a commodity for the industry.

DC composer – Michael Willis – driving musical score for twenty instruments realized on a synthesizer. (Music score available in MWDCCo file).

State of the Art  Video (15:00) Award winning dance documentary.  Maida Withers Choreographer; Linda Lewett, Editor

National award for Independent Cable Programming, Metro Arts Program, Fairfax, Virginia.

State of the Art gestures served as the basis for the evening-length performance Trans Action (2014)Sm StateKaren turns with arms openin (red) dress Sm StateGroup jumps, Annetta W center Sm State3 dancers in 3 levels with hand gesture fwd Sm State of the Art
2 men lift dancers in arch (side view)723 dancers stand around in suits72Annetta Wade reaches up 4 dancers squat72.Annetta Wade turns72.Three photosTIFjpg72.threesome photosTIF72.

What the press is saying

For Maida Withers, the program she and her Dance Construction Company presented at the Prince George's Publick Playhouse Thursday night seemed like chamber music compared to the operatic dimensions within which she has worked most often in the past. The leanness and concision of the works was a virtue; long-windedness has been one of Withers' less productive inclinations. State of the Art described in a note as : "A victim of the forced romance between art and business, the solo artists struggles against social and economic forces that threaten artistic survival." Alan M. Kriegsman

Artists and Collaborators
Concept and Choreography
Composer and Musician
Lighting Design
Film Producer and Director
Video Editor
Assistant Director
Theatre Lighting
Other Performances
  • Costa Rica (Location unknown)(map) on January 1, 1987
  • Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre (Premiere)(map) on May 15, 1986
Additional Information