top of page

NEWCITY: In the Middle of a Dream

February 8, 2021

Holly Warren

After the early months of the pandemic when it hurt to imagine work produced with passion and pain hanging unseen on gallery walls or sitting in crates in eerily abandoned galleries, it was refreshing when the MCA was able to reopen and launch “The Long Dream.”


Most engaging were three streamed premieres that took place during the event. In the first, Lise Haller Baggesen’s “refuseniks at the museum,” two dancers performed three distinct pieces collaged together into one video. Each of the three pieces had a significant vibe and signaled a solemn beginning, a chaotic middle and an exuberant end. In each of the performances the dancers wore Baggesen’s Refuseniks, flowing robes made of colorful and pattern-heavy fabrics meant to act as a safe haven from the loaded politics of a situation. The performers manipulated them as they moved. They wrapped and draped them over their faces, and in the second piece, bound together in one garment made for two, moved against each other and their connected middle seam. There was a feeling of tension and almost violence between the two dancers in this section—they spun each other around, dragged each other, put each other into vulnerable positions—prone on the floor, or hands up in the air. That tension remained even through what could be read as more tender gestures—is one performer holding the other a signal of care or a false, manipulating act of deceit and power? The dance that dominated the end is one of more freedom, the performers moving separately again with wide gestural motions. The moments of interaction between the two dancers were more collaborative here, supportive, caring. They ended by holding each other on the floor.

The performance was staged between the museum’s two second-floor galleries and the Commons, a space conceived of for bustling activity as a background. And even though the space was empty of guests, it was comforting to see that work was still being made. Along with the dancers, several videographers, including one who seemed almost a part of the dance, in pursuit of the performers with a handheld camera, were visible, as was the group glow in the dark flowers, who provided a soundtrack of driving distorted guitars and ethereal female voices. All wore Baggesen’s Refuseniks.


bottom of page