Canary, Crimson then Emerald

Carl Flink and his Black Label Movers explore three stages of the COVID-19 pandemic through dance

WORDS BY Rebecca Bell Sorenson

Award-winning choreographer Carl Flink of Minneapolis–based modern dance company Black Label Movement will debut the world premiere of Canary, Crimson then Emerald at The Cowles Center this month.

Created for his twelve company dancers—who are known as the Black Label Movers—Flink’s original world premiere date last spring was cancelled because of a COVID outbreak. Instead of getting discouraged, Flink used his quarantine to go deeper into the work. The result is what he calls “the three stages of the pandemic,” starting with the early feeling Flink compares to being on board the Titanic, oblivious to what might lie ahead (Canary), the dread of lockdown (Crimson), and the promise of a new day (Emerald).

“The challenge is always the topsy-turvy nature of the times we’re in,” says Flink, who is also the director of the University of Minnesota Dance program, a professor, and a sought-after performance collaborator. “But the break allowed for the company to deepen our work. We leaned into the energy of the past two-and-a-half years from COVID first looming to the murder of George Floyd to where we are going next as a community.”

The Cowles Center will be transformed into a site-specific immersive technicolor landscape for Canary, Crimson then Emerald thanks to longtime Black Label Movement sound artists Greg Brosofske and Queen Drea (who will also perform) and lighting designer Joseph Bingham. Award-winning costume designer Rhiannon Fiskradatz will feature Canary yellow prom dresses, a 1990s grunge vibe for the isolation of Crimson, and a futuristic color wash to usher in Emerald.

For a full sensory experience, spring for “Bites,” the opening night collab with James Beard Chef Gavin Kaysen and enjoy a three-course meal served tapas–style with signature cocktails or mocktails inspired by Flink’s new work followed by the performance, a post-show talk back with Flink and the Black Label dancers, and a donation to future projects (all for $100). All other Canary, Crimson then Emerald performances are “pay as able,” starting at $10.

Canary, Crimson then Emerald
September 23-25; $100 for Bites, pay what you can other performances

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