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Friday, December 8, 2017

In Context: Tesseract

Choreographic duo Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener present Tesseract, the fruit of their years-long collaboration with pioneering video artist (and fellow Merce Cunningham Dance Company alumnus) Charles Atlas, at BAM Dec 13—16.Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of related articles and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #BAMNextWave.

Program Notes

Tesseract (PDF)


Q&A with Rashaun Mitchell & Silas Riener (BAM blog)
On collaborating: "We argue until we don’t anymore. We take turns bossing each other and the dancers around. We work on multiple things at once. We are interested in the blurring of authorship."

Charles Atlas (MoMA)
Read an overview of the pioneering video artist's career, watch an interview about collaborating with Merce Cunningham, and peruse works in MoMA's collection.

Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener (Artist Website)
Learn more about the choreographic duo.

Watch & Listen

Merce Cunningham Dance Company at BAM: Silas Riener Split Sides solo (YouTube)
Riener performed this "extraordinary solo" (The New York Times) at BAM as part of Merce Cunningham: The Legacy Tour (2011 Next Wave Festival).

Charles Atlas and Collaborators (YouTube)
Atlas discusses crossing borders between dance, performance, and the visual arts with his piece MC9 2013 at the Tate Modern.

Charles Atlas, Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener in Conversation with Philip Bither (YouTube)
The artists discuss Tesseract with the senior curator of the Walker Art Center.

Charles Atlas | Frieze Films (
For Frieze London 2015, Atlas collaborated with Mitchell and Riener on a short video.

Now your turn...

How did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #BAMNextWave.


  1. This was dance for the 21st century. A beautiful synthesis of dance with technology. The intensive and exacting work that went into this piece is unmistakable. A true tour de force!

  2. A refreshing performance. Loved the mystery of wearing 3d glasses for the first portion, and the multi media bonanza that ensued. Bravo.

  3. This was by far the silliest performance I've seen at BAM and, considering the talent and effort wasted, perhaps the saddest. I entertained myself at first by trying to decide what was worse: the campy costumes, the cheesy 3D graphics, the grab bag of trite choreographic moves or the chest hair. At a point, I decided to treat it as farce — like a wry take-off of a self-indulgent college art project from the '80's — and that helped.

    I don't mean to be cruel; I expect that the intentions were sincere. But there is so much deserving talent looking for an audience. It's a terrible shame when this kind of exercise is funded. BAM members deserve much better.

  4. Some beautiful moments, some very strange weird bad sex moments, no overall vision, one odd evening.

  5. I knew when I was given 3D glasses on Friday night that this was not going to be your usual dance performance. I chose this show for the chance to see the work of Charles Atlas, plus I knew Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener would be amazing. (All of the dancers were excellent.) Part I of the evening felt like being transported into multiple video games. Part II was often a bit distracting, and seemed somewhat incongruent, but the spirit of experimentation was thrilling. My guess was that the dance moves had to be rather simple so that the video manipulation would work best? I was dismayed to find myself watching the projected images more than the real dancers. (Oh no! Am I addicted to screens rather than real life?) Sad to see the 2017 Next Wave Festival come to a close. It was awesome as always. Thanks, BAM!

  6. True artistry and innovation on display in this amazing, engaging and thought-provoking collaboration. Definitely moves dance into and beyond the 21st century. Many thanks to all the incredibly talented artists involved in this first-rate production.

  7. Love the performance.. As a new media performance artist myself I can say that this work was an example of the best visuality done within the form.. Keep it up BAM don't be afraid to dazzle!'