Dana Salisbury choreographer and multidisciplinary artist

Past Project Highlights:

A Dark Dining Projects’
Performance Installation
KO Festival of Performance, Holden Theater, Amherst College, Amherst, MA (www.kofest.com)

Dark Dining Projects’ blindfolded banquet, “SEASON” opened the 17th annual KO Festival of Performance which had as its theme  “FOOD: appetites, attitudes and politics." Blindfolded diners were led to long tables where a splendid four-course repast prepared by revered local chef Alan Harris was set before them. Each course featured in-season local foods served atop a mini-landscape. During one course, diners stood at a 30' long "forest" and "foraged" for their food. The room was an ever-changing olfactory, tactile and sonic environment, an installation of wind, water, organic material, music, performance movement and guest involvement.

Among the projects' many collaborators were Chef Allen Harris of Noble Feast (www.noblefeast.com), installation artist Noah Baen, and CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, www.buylocalfood.com)


Dark Dining Projects (2005 - present)
Sensory Feasts Served to Blindfolded Guests
Site- and Audience-Specific Performance Installations

View Dark Dining Projects at:
Metromix Video (YouTube)
ABC News

Creator/Director: Dana Salisbury
Selected Venues:
Restaurants: Camaje Bistro, NYC; Abigail Café, Brooklyn, NY; Green Street Cafe, Northampton, MA; Pond House Café, Hartford, CT; Rover's, Nell's, and Dinette, all three Seattle, WA; Fisher Island Club, Fisher Island, Miami, FL). Art venues include Galapagos Art Space and Chez Bushwick in Brooklyn, NY, the KO Festival of Performance at Amherst College, Amherst, MA, and the "Art Beyond Sight" Conference at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.

Performers (sampling):
Musicians: Matt Darriau (reeds and composer), Katie Down (multi-instrumentalist, composer and performer), Miguel Frasconi (glass Instruments), Gillian Harwin (multi-instrumentalist and vocalist), Shelley Hirsch (vocalist), Silvie Jensen (mezzo-soprano), Daisy Jopling (violin), Elise Knudson (singer/song-writer and dancer), Gina Leishman (multi-Instrumentalist, composer and vocalist), Frank London (horns), Douglas MacKenzie (South Indian percussion), Adam Matta (beat-boxer), Ingrid Matthews (baroque violin), Sarah Pillow (coloratura soprano), Val Ramos (flamenco guitar), Mia Theodoratus (contemporary harp), Tony Vacca (West African percussion), Bora Yoon (multi-instrumentalist, composer and performer)

Dancers: Darrah Carr (Irish step), Max Pollak (Rhumba Tap), Claudia Rahardjanoto (tap), Chikako Iwahori (tap)

Dancer/Embodiers: Amy L. Baumgarten, Nohemí Montzerrat Contreras, K.J. Holmes, KT Niehoff, Sari Nordman, Despina Stamos, Sarah Young


Whole-Body-Seer (2004)
Inspired by the sensate and imaginative life of the blind, the work offered experiential equivalents of vision without sight.

“I do not think of myself so much as a blind person, which would define me with reference to sighted people and as lacking something, but simply as a whole-body-seer. A blind person is simply someone in whom the specialist function of sight is now devolved upon the whole body, and no longer specialized in a particular organ." John Hull, "Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness”

Choreography, Video, Direction: Dana Salisbury
Dancers: Jeanine Durning, Laura Frigato and HawleyMartin Dance—Ariel Blackburn Cohen, Katrina Hawley, Krisen Day Martin (Rehearsal Director), Ann Sorvino and Aimee Stone
Field Recordings: Monya Pletsch
Sound Score: Michael Wall
Lighting Design: Juliet Chia

Whole-Body-Seer was funded in part by Northampton Arts Council, Inc., Puffin Foundation, Real Arts Ways and the Expeditions Program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, which received major support from the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from the State Art Agencies of New England and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Whoopee in the Dark (2002)
"whoopee cushion" (a crude joke played on us)
"making whoopee" (sex and its consequences)
"in the dark" (our confusion)

A series of reflections on powerlessness, the seven solos speak of situations that cannot be changed, personal limitations, reactions and feelings that lead to nothing, energy thrown back on itself, tempests in teapots. Five of the dances describe real places and events in Salisbury’s life—hitting a dog while driving home from Jacob's Pillow, visiting a beautiful, garbage-strewn lake in India, encountering a frantic camel, passing through a dying New England town, glimpsing a disfigured woman in a New York subway. Two other dances navigate interior landscapes—one dissects self-defeating behaviors; the other probes sexual consequences.

Choreography and text: Dana Salisbury
Dancers: Christine Bodwitch, Paul Langland, Karrie Wood
Original Music: Brian Bender (trombone), Karen Smith Emerson (soprano)
Lighting design: Tony Giovannetti


Stone's War (Against Loneliness and Human Separations from the Natural World) (2001)
Site-specific performance/installation at the Old American Can Factory, Brooklyn, NY

Stone's War (Against Loneliness and Human Separations from the Natural World) was a contemporary trickster myth about an old woman who "would rather be lost at war in the cities than be at peace in a tame wilderness." Fighting to survive in the city, she joins the flea community as it battles the Exterminator who threatens it with annihilation. Audiences climbed from an alley up to a moonlit rooftop, peered into the stinking purgatory of a flooded cellar, regrouped in a white-washed loft, descended into a cave-like area and out into a cobble-stoned courtyard. There, the action converged emerging from a freight elevator and pouring over the fire escape and four-story ramparts. The audience followed a limping victor back out into the street.

Concept and Direction: Dana Salisbury
Scenes created and performed by: Ariane Anthony, Christopher Caines Dancers and Singers, DD Dorvillier, Tony Giovannetti/Dafna Naphtali/Kieko Uenishi , Morgon Kara, Dana Salisbury, and Deke Weaver
Lighting Design: Tony Giovanetti
Photo: Michael Lillard
Stone's War was co-produced with Dancing in the Streets in association with XO:projects, and funded in part by the Greenwall Foundation.


Winner “BESSIE”(New York Dance and Performance Award)

Two Site-Specific Performance/Installations at NYC's Lower East Side Tenement Museum
These two performance installations, Halloween events in 1997 and 1998, took place at New York City’s Lower East Side Tenement Museum, a National Historic Landmark building, home to nearly 10,000 immigrants during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Visitors in groups of fifteen were guided through two partially restored apartments and six crumbling ruins, open to the public for the first time since they were closed and the residents evicted during the Great Depression. Projects by independent artists re-animated the four-story museum into a vibrant, living space, teeming with life and its many stories, real and imagined.

Both years:
Curation and Direction: Dana Salisbury and Maureen Brennan
Produced by Lower East Side Tenement Museum and Red Dive
Red Dive (Maureen Brennan, Catherine Dill, Peggy Peloquin, Bonnie Reese, Dana Salisbury and Ashley Smith), a collective of six independent artists established in 1996, grew out of and received support from the Independent Artist Challenge Program, a creative think-tank administered by The Field and funded by the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation.

Inhabited ’97: Ghosts of Home
Explored the concept of "Home," the time and site of our first consciousness of the world and our place in it, the place where we first experience both the sweetness of existence and the birth of desire, pain and fear. Projects by over 25 artists confronted the emotions and memories of “home” that haunt our daily lives. Over 500 people attended the sold-out two-night event.

Projects by: Ariane Anthony, Maureen Brennan, Tod Bresnick, Christopher Caines, Damien Catera, Dean Street Field of Operations, Diane Dwyer, Robert Dyrenforth, Michael John Garces, Stephen Geras, Jon Ginzel, Catherine Heard, Jeff Hoyer, Michael Lillard, Kate Morgan, Seth Morris, Heather Raikes, Bonnie Reese, Raul Rothblatt, Armand Ruhlman III, Dana Salisbury, Johnna Schmidt and Chris Brophy, Ashley Smith, Debbie Stamos, Marion Stanton, Matt Zekala. Photo: John Reuter
Lighting Design and Technical Direction: Severin Clay

Inhabited ’98: Afterlives
(Bessie Award Winner)
The immigrants’ experience of leaving behind or killing off their old lives was the metaphorical landscape for the “inhabitants” of Afterlives. Aspects of death (whether of people, relationships, dreams or faith) and the seeds of rebirth that death carries with it were woven into a time-shifting memento mori that asked “What came after?, What comes next?”

Projects by: Romy Achituv & Danielle Wilde, Ariane Anthony, Noah Baen, Eliza Brown, Christopher Caines, Ellen Kaplan, Lloyd Lawrence, Michael Lillard, Clarinda MacLow, Sam Newsome, Jon Rubin, John-Mario Sevilla, Skin-Deep Productions, Paige Stevenson, Marion Stanton, Richard Airiq Williams, Blaine Wolf, Stefanie Zadravec
Light Design and Technical Direction: Jane Cox and Frank DenDanto

1997 Ghosts of Home

1998 Afterlives


Wahconah Reconstruction (1987-92)

These works of visual art recreated the experience of hiking the complicated landforms and shifting perspectives of Wahconah Falls in Western. MA.  The project comprised a two-sided screen pierced and pinned by sculpted "trees" (pictured here), a series of large-scale shaped paintings, a video, two sets of "maps," an installation, and a catalog with text by the artist.