Tamara Hurwitz and Tracy Penfield are mature dance artists and choreographers who began exploring this idea in 2012. Passing, the performance piece had its premiere on April 28, 2018 at Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, Vermont, which commissioned the piece. It is intended that The Passing Project will live and tour throughout New England and to other national venues.
Why we started
Tamara Hurwitz and Tracy Penfield danced together in Bozeman, MT, in 1981 and 1982, a brief two years that created a lifelong friendship. They each went their ways in terms of dance and life, and in 2012, Tracy said to Tamara, “Let’s make another dance, while we still can!”
That summer, Tracy went to Tamara’s studio and as they moved around together for the first time in 30 years, they talked about their lives. It became apparent that the theme of dying was now prominent for each of them: Tamara’s parents had both passed in recent years, her father only a half year before; Tracy had 4 friends who passed with cancer within the past few years. After Tamara spoke her father’s passing story, Tracy remarked on how beautiful it was and how rarely people share passing stories. True, they are not all pretty or smooth, but they can be important to know and to pass on. They had their theme for the dance: Passing.
From the beginning, they have asked three primary questions of themselves and their cast and the participants in community engagement events:
What has been passed on to you? This might be something of the material world, or physical features, generational trauma or simply stories of ancestors, if one is so lucky.
What do you want to pass on? Again, this might be something material, or a legacy of another type, a philosophy, a world view, and of course, stories.
What are your passing stories? These might be actual stories of loved ones passing or other passing's: a house burning down, an accident or illness, a divorce, or a transition of great magnitude in one’s life.
The answers to these questions are as varied and fascinating as each individual who shares them.
Passing, the Performance
Co-Created by Tamara Hurwitz Pullman and Tracy Penfield
Music created and performed by Carl Pepperman, Phil Thorne, Liana Nuse, Maesa Pullman
Dances co-created and performed by Tracy Penfield, Ted Johnson, Kyle Mullins, Ali Palin, Otto Pierce, Bridget Struthers, Olivia Wingerath
“Kela” knotless netted linen sculpture created by Tracy Penfield
Production and Stage Manager: Julia Tadlock
Lighting Design: Alex E. Taylor
Costume Design: Edmund Langdell and Tracy Penfield
Costume Construction: Brenda Palin
Videography and Photography: Jay Beaudoin
Photography: Tim Calabro
Tom Ayres, former Exec. Director of Chandler Center for the Arts, Randolph VT, co-commissioner of Passing
The Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation
Kinney Pike Insurance Co.
Gail Osherenko And Oran Young
Tamara And Bill Pullman
Joann and Ned Winterbottom
Passing Project: ongoing events such as workshops, trainings, performances, residencies
Artistic Director: Tracy Penfield
Communications Director: Tess Holbrook
Passing Project is a program of SafeArt, Inc., a 501(c) 3 nonprofit based in Chelsea VT. Donations are tax-deductible and appreciated.