Penn Live Arts Blog

The Guggenheim’s Works & Process Virtual Commissions Series

Posted July 1, 2020

Penn Live Arts Recommends Dance

There’s nothing quite like getting a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process, being able to ask questions of the artist or see a piece before it becomes a hit. For over 35 years, the Guggenheim’s Works & Process program has done just that, providing unprecedented access to artists and their new works. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Guggenheim shifted focus online, supporting artists and their process while also sharing it with the world through a Virtual Commissions series.

Over the past few months, several Annenberg Center artists and companies created and performed new works at home for this series. Most recently, four BalletX co-commissions had their digital premiere, each performed by company dancers. Set to Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time,” 100 Days, choreographed by Caili Quan (also a BalletX dancer), is a playful take on life at home during lockdown. It featured dancer Chloe Perkes and her husband Ammon Perkes, who just happens to be a Penn graduate student. Additional BalletX works include The Under Way (working title) by Rena Butler, Brown Eyes by Penny Saunders and’s okay too. Feel by Hope Boykin.

John Heginbotham offered the first two Caprices (Caprice 1, Caprice 2) in a larger-scale project inspired by and featuring the 24 Caprices for Solo Violin by Niccolò Paganini. Tapper Caleb Teicher paid tribute to the beloved New York urban oasis in Thank You, Central Park, set to Nora Brown’s new rendition of an old tune, “Fly Around.” Larry Keigwin and John Jarboe (of Philly’s The Bearded Ladies) also created works for the series. And there is much more to explore in these virtual commissions, as dancers, musicians and actors react to quarantine and the tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the nationwide protests against systemic racism.

Watch this playlist for more than 30 virtual commissions >>