Excess, Idle, Surplus

Excess Idle Surplus
World premiere date
Premiere location place
South Bend, IN

Theresa Dickinson, Carol Laudenslager, Sara Rudner, Twyla Tharp, Margery Tupling 

Other program information

Film: Information by Hollis Frampton

This perfromance was a part of the Contemporary Festival of the Arts (Second Annual Notre Dame - South Bend Festival of Arts.)


Excess, Idle, Surplus is a quintet in three parts - "Excess," "Idle" and "Surplus."

In the first, five dancers perform simultaneous solos, each containing small movement phrases lasting ten to sixty seconds which are repeated. The solos are timed by Tharp so as to create recognizable moments of counterpoint.

During "Idle" a projector's beam provides the lighting as Hollis Frampton's film Information is projected on the back wall. The rhythmic structure of a composition by Morton Feldman was used to coordinate the dancers' parts. 

For the third section, the rhythm of Monteverdi's "Sonata Sopra: Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis" informs the dancers' pace. Tharp transcribed the sonata into her own style of dance notation to record the timing of the movement.  

Pages 20 and 33 of 55 from Tharp's orginal choreographic notes.

No music is ever heard by the audience; the clacking and whirring of the projector provides the accompaniment. 

  • image
    Wright, Rudner and Tharp perform at the Billy Rose Theatre in 1969.  ©Jack Mitchell
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    Tupling, Rudner, Tharp, Wright, Dickinson perform at the Billy Rose Theatre in 1969. ©Jack Mitchell
After 'Suite' (premiere) - Disperse - Excess, Idle, Surplus | Twyla Tharp and Dancers
Billy Rose Theater
New York, NY
Group Activities (premiere) - Disperse - Excess, Idle, Surplus | Twyla Tharp and Dancers
The Theatre of the Living Arts
Philadelphia, PA
Excess, Idle, Surplus (premiere) | Twyla Tharp and Dancers
Washington Hall, Notre Dame University
South Bend, IN