San Francisco-based dance-choreographer Joanna Haigood is an acclaimed choreographer and site artist who makes dances that inhabit natural, architectural, and cultural environments and deeply involve surrounding communities. In a tribute to the cultural life of a Minneapolis neighborhood, Picture Powderhorn
was commissioned in 1998 as an investigation into the memory of spaces. Haigood and her company Zaccho Dance Theatre transformed the massive Con Agra grain silos in Southeast Minneapolis into an enormous performance stage on August 25, and 26, 2000. Suspended by specially designed rigging and harnesses, Zaccho’s aerialists performed the work at dusk, soaring off the surface of 120-foot concrete silos and interacting within the immense projections of video artist Mary Ellen Strom and the architecture itself. The experience was heightened by elaborate lighting and an original electronic soundscape. The work, two years in the making and involving extensive research by Walker staff on local Minneapolis neighborhoods and their geography, culminated Haigood’s residency at the Walker, during which she worked with area teens exploring the Powderhorn neighborhood in South Minneapolis. The teens captured the stories, pace, and sounds of the area, providing choreographic inspiration and audio-visual material used to create the performance’s stirring environment of sound and light. To Haigood, the silos are a powerful metaphor for the nourishment and vitality of inner-city neighborhoods—and Picture Powderhorn
was an unforgettable celebration of one such community. In the end, more than 4000 Twin Cities residents attended the two performances. . . .