Burden of Joy

Choreographer and artistic Director Maureen Whiting and longtime company members and collaborators—Danielle Blackwell, Ezra Dickinson and Motoko Honda—embark on a series of deeply personal solos and duets about life death imbalance and consciousness. Burden of Joy uncovers the human soul with irony and a theatrical visual eye. Inspired by the life (and death) of the choreographer’s mother the work excavates the human soul through dance. Inclusive of family narrative the choreographer Maureen Whiting crafts the dance coded in sensation and various states of consciousness. With a choreographer’s strict adherence to pattern and form as well as being a brilliant mathematician she employs her unique voice on  probability of a life. This is the first part of a new larger group work entitled “The Burden of Joy” which are dances about life death imbalance and consciousness and joy.

Client: Maureen Whiting
Photo CreditHillary Goidell
Services Provided: Dramaturge | Costume Design

Watch the Samples of the Performance and Process

Maureen Whiting Dance Company ‘Bear Writes an Equation About Death Dance Mashup’ (3) from SFAltPerformance on Vimeo.


Maureen Whiting/Burden of Joy from chanibocks on Vimeo.


Burden of Joy ACT 2015 Sebastian-Export for Vimeo from Maureen Whiting on Vimeo.

Visual Samples of Burden of Joy

Danielle Blackwell immerses herself in depth with meticulous research and integrity in all of our projects. Yet the costumes have a greater purpose of serving the essence of the dance that moves beyond costuming. The designer works closely with me the choreographer tapping into the elemental dreamlike subconscious of the work. By this process Dani’s costumes make the dance a “felt” story.

The cryptic messages of my mother’s dreams that she wrote in the months before she took her life are inscribed on a dance costume . . . At one point the pages of the journal literally come alive as they are torn off the costume mid dance.

The sculptural elements of the costume make the dance literally come alive as an imagistic filmic-like narrative. As wearable works of art they create an abstract emotional empathy that fill the stage with their own presence as the dancers interact with each other, themselves and move through space.
— Maureen Whiting