BEST VENUE FOR DANCE Minneapolis 2002 - Southern Theater
Oh, if those walls could talk! For more than 90 years the Southern Theater has anchored the Seven Corners intersection on the West Bank, evolving from a Swedish-themed vaudeville venue into a porno-movie playhouse, a heavy-equipment garage, the swanky Gaslight Restaurant, a Guthrie Theater outpost, and finally, in 1981, the headquarters for the Twin Cities dance scene. Unlike your typical, minimalist black-box theater, the Southern has carefully cultivated its bohemian sensibility to suit the offbeat personalities of the dance world. The original proscenium arch is intact, and murals from a more elegant era are still visible, arrested in a state of artful decay. The overall feeling of wide-open space is welcoming, even when the theater is packed. And unlike some of the "barns" around town, the Southern remains intimate, making it ideal for experiencing the nuances of human movement. There's no such thing as a bad or uncomfortable seat, especially since the recent renovation, and even back-row dwellers can still see the sweat fly. Artistic director and resident lighting designer Jeff Bartlett presents a mixed program of local and visiting choreographers, as well as music, performance art, theater, and everyone's favorite midnight cabaret, Balls, where you too can trip the light fantastic--for seven minutes or less--just by signing up.