Levels & Lines is a multi-media, multi-dimensional abstract ballet, which began in 2000 as a series of long-legged dance-scapes.  Originally inspired by abstract-expressionist artist, Joan Mitchell, whose work at first seems to be purely abstract in form but to me is also layered with texture and emotional tone.

Levels & Lines came out of my curiosity about the body’s distorted movements and form that developed from having attachments to the legs.  I wanted to see if it was possible to explore scale, shape and form so that ultimately you would just see the movement and almost forget we are dancing on three-foot high stilts.

Levels & Lines also references and is inspired by neo-classical ballet and the pointe shoe. The stilts can actually represent a pointe shoe – elongating the line of the leg, the interplay of balance and weight.  I utilize the stilts as a catalytic vehicle to extend performance space, alter perspective, experiment with scale and proportion, and play with symbolism and metaphors.

Each new version of Levels & Lines like a painter’s canvas has evolved and been altered by the particular cast involved as well as the various collaborators such as the lighting designer, video creator and costumer.

I would like to thank all of the previous casts and collaborators of various versions of L&L for their input and artistry.

Levels & Lines

  • part 1 was first performed at University Settlement in 1998.
  • part 5 premiered at Columbus Dance Theatre and performed at Stuart’s Opera House
  • part 16 was created on the students at Kenyon College
  • evening length work performed at Drake Union, King Arts Complex and Ohio Wesleyan Univeristy


Photos:  Brain Hockensmith http://www.bhockensmith.com