The Fabric Workshop & Museum presents Janine Antoni with Anna Halprin and Stephen Petronio

From April 21 to July 31, 2016, The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) premieres Ally, an exhibition of art and dance conceived and performed by artist Janine Antoni in collaboration with choreographer Stephen Petronioand movement artist Anna Halprin.

“Taking the form of performances, installation environments, videos, and sculptures, Ally will occupy four floors of our contemporary art museum in Center City,” notes Susan Lubowsky Talbott, interim executive director.

“I conceived of this project more than six years ago as a kind of retrospective of my art making, told through dance,” says Janine Antoni. “It has evolved into a truly collaborative creation that allows us to find a way to continue making new work while looking back.”

The exhibition comprises four projects:

Rope Dance, an improvised performance work instigated by Halprin, who presented a rope to Antoni and Petronio to be used as a tool to connect their bodies and draw lines through space. The concept has been expanded to include the participation of audience members and, when the performance is not taking place, a wall-sized projection of Halprin watching the process of a dance coming into form. (Performance, monthly, and installation, first floor).

Swallow, a complex installation project that began with Antoni and Petronio making a unique performance in which they each swallowed half of a 10-foot strip of cloth. In the installation, the recovered remnant is housed in a spot-lit, elevated reliquary. Audio speakers suspended over conversation chairs allow visitors to listen to different “testimonies” from the only ten “witnesses” to the live act of swallowing. Across the room, visitors encounter a simple glass vitrine containing another piece of cloth, upon which is printed the only photograph of the swallowing ritual. This relic is slowly decomposing. (Installation, second floor).

The Courtesan and the Crone, a work in which, wearing a shimmery gold robe, Venetian mask, and pair of women’s pumps, Petronio performs a dance of seduction originally created by Halprin as a solo for herself. At its completion, Petronio hooks his golden robe to a rope attached to a red theater curtain. As the curtain descends, the costume rises. (Performance, monthly, and installation, seventh floor).

Paper Dance, an improvised movement performance performed by Antoni once a week for 14 weeks. Drawing on images and concerns that have long preoccupied her as an artist, Antoni uses rolls of brown paper, originally employed by Halprin in her seminal work Parades and Changes (1965). The performances take place within an installed arena of many wooden packing crates containing artworks by Antoni. Each iteration calls for Antoni to begin by unpacking one of her earlier works from a crate. A “retrospective” of Antoni’s previous works slowly emerges, with chosen works appearing, remaining for a week, then disappearing as they are re-packed. When the performances are not taking place, a film of Halprin’s Parades and Changes is screened. The paper remnants of Antoni’s performances slowly accumulate over the course of the exhibition. (Performance, weekly, and installation, eighth floor).

Related programme

Further details at

Ally afternoon performances

April 21, 1–4:30pm

Performances of Rope Dance, The Courtesan and the Crone, and Paper Dance

Ally reception

April 21, 5–9pm

Performances of The Courtesan and the Crone and Paper Dance

Paper Dance

April 26, May 6, 26, June 3, 10, July 1, 8, 15, 22, 1–2pm


Ally performances

May 15, June 18, July 31

Performances of Rope Dance, The Courtesan and the Crone, and Paper Dance

Conversation with the artists and performances

May 21

Artists conversation and performances of The Courtesan and the Crone and Paper Dance

Janine Antoni, artist talk & Paper Dance

June 25


A book work edited by the British writer and performance scholar Adrian Heathfield in collaboration with the artists will be created as an element of Ally. The book will include essays from Heathfield, Carol Becker, Jacquelynn Baas and Richard Move, as well as a specially commissioned and translated work by the acclaimed French theorist and novelist Hélène Cixous. The book contains extensive documentation of the collaborating artists’ processes and works.

About the funders

Major support for Ally has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Initial support for this project was provided by Creative Capital. Additional funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Shipley-Miller Foundation, and the Board of Directors and Members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.

Press contacts:

Anne Edgar: [email protected] / T 646 336 7230

Michele Bregande, The Fabric Workshop and Museum: [email protected] /