In January of 1998, I saw a dance performance in
Northhampton, Massachusetts that included a woman who was listed in the program as being in her
'seventies.' It was an inspiring moment.
Feeling the pinch of turning fifty, I, who had at one time aspired to becoming a dancer, thought
that my dancing days were over. It occurred to me that I could still create and perform with a
different energy and intent than I may have possessed when I was twenty-something.
This was when the idea of 'The Over The Hill Dance Company' was born. I called my
friend, Anna Dunwell Friedler, writer, dancer, artist, to ask her if she wanted to work together and
develop this idea. She replied that she had the same longing to perform and create as I did.
first performance of our collaboration was held on April 1, 1998 at Dance Freedom's 30th
Anniversary at the First Unitarian Church, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA The Performance piece was
titled STUFF, It's a material world.
Premier Performance Piece
STUFF was a seven minute piece set to seven different musical
moments. We had two rehearsals. The parameters were as follows. Anna and I put on as many layers of
clothes as we could wear and still move around, with a final kimono covering.
From a meditative sitting position, we began to circle each other as we took off each article of
clothing until at the end of the piece when we were down to our leotards. All movement was
improvisational, and at one point we actually began to put each other's clothes back on, and then
thought better of it, and continued at a fast pace to get rid of the rest of the stuff on our
The piece was great fun, and it established some of the ground rules for the
1. All performers must be over 50.
2. Performances not to exceed 10 minutes.
3. No memorization
4. Minimal rehearsal
5. Low aerobic content
6. Exploration of physical,
emotional, philosophical and spiritual themes are encouraged
Second Performance Piece
In 1999, Anna and Beverly performed at the 31st Anniversary
Celebration of Dance Freedom at the First Unitarian Church, Cambridge, MA, The first piece was
conceived and loosely choreographed by Beverly as part of her continuing It's a Material World
series, and was titled...
THE YELLOW CHAIR: Matter/ Anti-matter performed by Misha Rinder, Anna Dunwell Friedler,
David Friedler, Jose Galvao and Beverly Sky. A six minute piece set to the music of Zen monks, nature
sounds, and the intro to Thus Spake Zarathustra by R. Strauss, The dancers, all in black, gloves,
socks leotards, wander into the center of the stage, seemingly lost, carrying some dayglow yellow
pieces of wood. The dancers notice each other, and begin to come together realizing that all of their
yellow pieces of wood may fit together. They are able to join the pieces together at the peak of
Zarathustra's intro and create a yellow chair in black space. Then after a moment all is dissolved
and the dancers go off into their own worlds again.
It was after this performance that we came up with our Mission Statement:
Over The Hill Dance
Company: Exploring Spiritual and Metaphysical Process through Performance.
Third Performance Piece
Performed on December 22,1999, at Dance Freedom's Solstice
"For the Lakota Sioux, tonight's last full solstice moon of
the millennium at 10:32 P.M. is known as the 'moon when the deer shed their horns.' This
moon hasn't been seen since 133 years ago when a legendary Sioux warrior attempted to regain use
of the land. This years super moon, fosters healing, its power representing the divine bright light.
As you awake you'll understand what has been lost when it didn't reach your heart. Suffering
is not an option. Don't turn off the light or the snow will submerge you in the middle of the
SOLSTICE: An original performance piece in two parts.
Part one, conceived by Anna Dunwell
Friedler from her series Finding the Inner Navel a piece titled THE CONVERSATION
conceived by Beverly Sky is titled OVER THE RAINBOW
Performing Artists: David Brown, Anna
Dunwell Friedler, David Friedler, Jose Galvao, Litty Medalia, Geoff Rose, Beverly Sky.
THE CONVERSATION - Five minutes and fourteen seconds of dancers interacting with and
reflecting their experience with the light and healing of a full moon. Rising, dancers writhing,
sliding and leaping across staging area, seguing into Anna and Beverly having a silent conversation
with gestures only, filled with strong emotions communicating silently with each other, and
understanding the communications.
OVER THE RAINBOW - Introduction read by Mark Haskins:
"Birds fly in a V-formation
because as each bird flaps it's wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By
flying in this V-formation, the flying distance of the entire flock is 71" greater than if each
bird flew on it's own. When a bird falls out of this formation it suddenly feels the drag and
resistance of trying to go it alone... and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the
lifting power of the bird in front. When we share a common direction and sense of community, we can
get where we are going more quickly and easily because we are traveling on the lifting power of one
Music begins with seven minutes of Judy Garland singing the last chorus of Somewhere over the
Rainbow, as dancers enter performance area and are given large sheets of Blue paper which they begin
to fold into giant origami cranes during which time a rainbow appears over the moon and the dancers
place the folded blue birds on their heads and flap the wings and exit stage in V-formation.
Baggage: The Stuff of Relationships
Performed on February 14, 2001
At First Church, Cambridge, MA,
Wednesday Night Dance Freedom
Tonights performance is called Baggage: A dance meditation on the stuff we give
and take in relationships. This piece was conceived by Beverly Sky and developed with tonights
ensemble performers in order of appearance, Claudyne Wilder, Tad Jankowski, David Kahn, Beverly
Sky and Lisa Tiemann. The music is provided by: Carlos Gardel singing El Dia De Mi Quieres, Keb
Mo singing Dangerous Mood, and the Beatles.
Baggage: Schematic of Performance
2/14/01 at First Church,Cambridge,MA Silence
- 1. T and C walk onto center performance area and put their large
plastic bags filled with "baggage" in the center of the space.
- Music begins, at orchestral
- D and B walk on holding hands baggage on their persons, watch T and C, stand in
dance position for a moment, at music shift, turn away from each other30 sec
- Lisa walks on5.
David trys to get L to notice him, but L plays hard to get,
- At music shift, La dolce B and T
notice each other and begin to dance getting all tangled up,
- C contemplates baggage, then tries to
- T exticates himself and goes back to C
- End of Tango, whispering tape for ten
seconds, mood shift11. D takes off baggage
- D and L approach and begin to dance together
dances with C and T , trying to avoid Bs baggage
- L takes off her cape baggage (at call me
- Instrumental phase, everyone begins to dance with each other,
- B grabs Ds leg and
is dragged a few steps, then lets go
- B contemplates everyone else dancing together and the
garbage, Instrumental ends, bells and gongs for a few seconds, and then voices laughing for 10
- Beatles singing Love, Love, Love for one minute during which time we
all come together and forma circle dancing with up raised arms and then
slowly open up black plastic garbage bags are filled with red
balloons and continue dancing till the end of song.
- Everyone dances off the performance area. Lights
- Pick up the bags.The End.
Performances to be announced.