These images are from a
series that were photographed over several days in the forest surrounding
Lake Placid, New York with the Rebecca Kelly Dance Company in the early
1990's. This collaboration between choreographer Rebecca Kelly and artist/photographer
Mark Sadan had its origins in both their childhoods. Rebecca was the daughter
of missionaries who lived in the Sudan when she was young exposing her
to diverse African tribal cultures. Mark Sadan as a child was fascinated
by the illustrated book by Dorf from last century on Milton's Paradise
Lost. Later he spent six months going up the Amazon producing and directing
a film 'The Green Light Expedition' which included visiting 36 tribes of
the Amazon and the high mountains of Peru and Bolivia.
Both Rebecca Kelly and Mark Sadan had dreamt of doing a work that related to these experiences and impressions relevant to their work and lives in the 20th century. They met at various times over a period of several months before photographing on location at Lake Placid. Mark had wanted to create images of contemporary Americans as indigenous people confronted with an impending unavoidable catastrophe and judgement. Rebecca felt that the death of the trees in the Northeast from acid rain pretended just such a disaster staking humanity. The dancers become not only aboriginal but, with mud and blue and green coloring, the spirits of the trees. Rebecca then spent several months studying the photographic images and sequences out of which she then crafted her dance, Tear of the Clouds, with the dancers performing behind a transparent screen onto which at key transitions had images from the dance on location projected as the dancers in the background fade in and out.
A video tape of the dance
was created; it is 13 minutes long and can be purchased from
A video of still images as
well as photographs can be purchased from