For Group Activities, white masking tape marks a grid on the floor of the performance space. The dancers perform to the sound of a metronome, a temporal reference point for their rhythmically complex solos.
When the dance was performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music some months later, Tharp replaced the metronome with a caller who shouted out the correct counts when the dancers fell out of sync. The audience sat on bleachers surrounding the stage. The cast was doubled to ten dancers and arranged so that the choreography was seen at two angles from a single vantage point. Like looking through a stereopticon, the double cast created a sense of depth and a feeling of spontaneous reorganization.
Original choreographic notes depicting an aerial view of grid and movement patterns.
Arielle Dundore, Alma Guillermoprieto, Janet Frachtenberg, Karen Fensterheim and Barbara Kravitz in an excerpt from Group Activities as performed in Dancing in the Streets...at the Wadsworth Atheneum in 1969. ©Jim Elliot