The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever

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Photograph by Sarah Rose Smiley

The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever – Madison edition
Collaborative social practice project / site-specific dance performance
July 16, 2016, James Madison Park, Madison WI

On Saturday, July 16, Kate Bush fans gathered in James Madison Park to perform the iconic dance from her 1978 “Wuthering Heights” music video. With a team of co-organizers and dance instructors — River Bullock, Melissa Marver, Megan Milks, Bonnie Murphy, and Victoria Vasys — I choreographed the Madison, WI edition of the “Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever” event that happened simultaneously all over the world. The event included a series of free public dance workshops, a rehearsal, a filmed dance, and a final un-filmed dance. Out on the wily, windy moors of James Madison Park, we Cathys danced our hearts out!

“The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever” is an homage to Kate Bush, but it’s also a collaborative artwork, an act of community that materializes a shared fantasy world. The aesthetic and affective experience of the collective performance is created through the projected relationships the dancers have with Kate and with other dancers across the world, and the embodied relationships they have with each other in their shared kinesthetic landscape, dancing across the moors of James Madison Park and elsewhere.

For more information, read my blog post about the event.

“Signature Kate Bush moves: Wuthering triple spin, zombie walk, ghost fingers, backwards pterodactyl
Amount of red lipstick applied: So much!!
Feelings: Joy, anguish, power, vulnerability, friendship, femininity, fabulousness
Spirit of Kate Bush: Infinite”
Allison Geyer, “Rapture in Red,” The Isthmus

“As strange cultural happenings go, it strikes me as one of the more charming things to happen in Madison for a while.”
— Scott Gordon, Tone Madison

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Lead Dance Instructors: Melissa Marver and Victoria Vasys
Assistant Dance Instructors: River Bullock and Bonnie Murphy

Lead Coordinator: Katie Schaag
Co-Coordinators: Megan Milks, River Bullock, Melissa Marver, Bonnie Murphy, and Victoria Vasys

Sound Engineer: Robert Walter
Poster Designer: River Bullock
Photographer: Sarah Rose Smiley
Journalist: Allison Geyer

Dancers: Fernanda Villarroel, Fern Schultz, Yolanda Gorman, Eva Maxwell, Allison S, Adam Krause, Jessica Cooley, Lex Lancaster, Johanna Dolle, Mary Trotter, Michelle Rose, Gwendelara Hendee, Antonio Souza, Christine Olson, Robert Kaufman, Allison Geyer, Robert Walter, Martha Jane Gipson, Katie Schaag, Victoria Vasys, Melissa Marver, Megan Milks, River Bullock, Bonnie Murphy, and more!

Inspiration: Kate Bush, Emily Brontë, Shambush, and the worldwide The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever movement!

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Media coverage:

“Rapture in Red” by Allison Geyer for The Isthmus

“Massive Kate Bush Video Reenactment Coming to James Madison Park” by Scott Gordon for Tone Madison

“Madison dancers join a worldwide Kate Bush dance party” by Erik Lorenzsonn for The Capital Times

“Standout Art Moments in Madison from 2016” by Sarah Witman for Tone Madison

Video footage:

“I’m wearying to escape into that glorious world, and to be always there: not seeing it dimly through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart: but really with it, and in it.”
— Catherine, Wuthering Heights, Ch. 15 (referenced by Mary Trotter)