Image courtesy Walker Art Center Cameron Wittig


ICON SAM: Temple Dances

Daily from June 14-16
6 p.m.
June 17
3 p.m.
Daily from June 21-23
6 p.m.
June 24
3 p.m.

The Hennepin Center for the Arts in downtown Minneapolis was originally a landmark Masonic Temple, erected in 1888. One hundred and thirty years later, fearless choreographer/performer Sally Rousse has taken on the whole darned edifice, creating an immersive performance experience that guides audience members through the building and into its multi-layered history. ICON SAM (an anagram for “masonic”) features works that Rousse commissioned by area choreographers Wynn Fricke, HIJACK, Lise Houlton, Judith Howard, Judith Brin Ingber, and Sossy Mechanics. Audiences will be led throughout the eight-story building—its alleys and hallways as well as the grand studios and theaters that originally housed the meetings and secret ceremonies of Masonic Temple Lodge No. 19. Audience members will be treated as Masonic initiates, divided into small groups and guided through installations such as the Hall of Memories, where timelines of what happened here will be open to audience participation. (Share a memory!) Equally a celebration of the building’s architectural wonders and its historical transitions (it once housed a beauty parlor and several businesses, and now harbors a host of arts groups), the performance also honors the spirit of all the people who have rehearsed and performed there (including Mikhail Baryshnikov and Prince). The evening incorporates thrills, chills, and stylistic innovation. So while HIJACK offers an audacious homage to the architecture, Megan McClellan performs a virtuosic solo with tables in the Illusion Theater Lobby, Wynn Fricke creates a ritual, and Rousse dares to dance on a balcony railing. Audiences will literally be on their feet throughout the performance, so comfortable clothes and shoes are in order.