Prev    Next

This Is What Happened19993 dancers44 min

For This Is What Happened I returned to the “danse-noire” thread of my work that I had begun with MacGuffin or How Meanings Get Lost (1987). For this development I made use of suspended surveillance mirrors, suspenseful music by Bernard Herrman that appeared and disappeared, and film exposition techniques as structural points of departure. I drew the raw movement material from videotaped improvisations of myself dancing to some of Herrmann’s most extravagant film music (and in silence). The aspirational blurb I wrote for the work: “Rhythm as narrative, fractured and distilled - part Rashomon, part Notorious.”

I also returned to the use of fictional projected text for This Is What Happened, in contrast to the non-fictional text I began employing with Not-About-AIDS-Dance (1994). The text, just six lines, commented on the dance events:
       This is what happened.
       Don’t believe her, she’s lying.
       He guesses his future.
       Something is happening to her.
       Back to the present.

My goal with these phrases was to open my process to the audience, in effect engage the viewer in what may be my ultimate question when taking in a dance (or any work of art) - what exactly is happening here? As an example: When I slowly eased my tank top strap off my shoulder, back to the audience, and the audience read the projection “He guesses his future,” I hoped that multiple interpretations and a range of feelings might be made possible. The options and choices of interpretation are what interested me. 

Premiered at Performance Space 122, NYC in April, 1999.

Choreography and Text: Neil Greenberg
Performed by: Neil Greenberg, Justine Lynch, Paige Martin

Music: Bernard Herrmann, excerpts from film scores including The Man Who Knew Too Much, Torn Curtain, Marnie, Vertigo, Psycho

Music Remixes: Zeena Parkins & Elliott Sharp

Lighting Design: Michael Stiller

Costumes: The Company

Tailor: Tina Schenk

Projection Design: John Masterson

Stage Manager: Andy Russ

Bernard Herrmann’s music used with the kind permission of John Waxman.

Videotaped at P.S. 122 on May 7, 1999.

Video Recording: Character Generators, Inc.

Cameraperson: Mark Robison

Post-Production: Meg Hanley, Studio 4J LLC


Commissioned by Painted Bride Art Center with funds from the Pennsylvania Arts Council

New York State Council on the Arts

Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts

Harkness Foundation for Dance


Jack Anderson, New York Times 1999

Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice, 1999
Merilyn Jackson, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1999

Don Daniels, Ballet Review, 1999

Chris Pasles, Los Angeles Times, 2000

Sara Wolf, LA Weekly, 2000

Jennifer Fisher, Los Angeles Times, 2000

Jennifer Dunning, New York Times, 2000

Henry Baumgartner, New York Dance Fax, 2000

Additional Links

Excerpts from This Is What Happened

Neil Greenberg
© Dona Ann McAdams

L-R: Justine Lynch, Neil Greenberg
© Dona Ann McAdams

L-R: Paige Martin, Neil Greenberg, Justine Lynch
© Johan Elbers, 1999 Studio Shot

L-R: Paige Martin, Justine Lynch, Neil Greenberg
© Johan Elbers, 1999 Studio Shot

Neil Greenberg
© Johan Elbers, 1999 Studio Shot