Big Waves (1988,89)

©Lois Greenfield

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Full-length version premiered in 1988, edited to 40 minutes in 1989. This work is about the slow buildup of large forces over a long period of time. It's also about disintegration, sudden change, lack of concentration, & changing directions without slowing down. These ideas were explored physically, with long slow build-up music by Guy Sherman AKA Aural Fixation. Though it was never a hit, this is one of Stephanie's favorites.



Created in collaboration with the dancers of Stephanie Skura & Company: Karl Anderson, Eric Diamond, Karen Langevin, Barbara Mahler, Stephanie Skura & Debra Wanner. Lighting by ML Geiger, costumes by Liz Prince. Performed at Dance Theater Workshop & Dance Chance in New York City; Gilbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; Tanz ‘90, Secession Theater, Vienna; Posthof Theatre, Linz, Austria; Petofi Csarnok, Budapest; The Dance Hall, Cincinnati; Bennington College, VT; MoMing Arts Center, Chicago; Group Motion, Philadelphia.

"Always balanced between darkness & humor " Jennifer Dunning, New York Times"
"There's a childlike ebullience to the piece. The dancing is rigorous, athletic & daredevil. It begins with apparently indecisive action but develops into an exhilarating rush of swoops, starts, stops, fragmentations & unions. 'My basic desire with dance,' Skura has written, 'is that it be more like life: multilayered, complex, sometimes interrupted, frequently ambiguous, filled with feeling, filled with thought, awkward at times, occasionally confused & even hesitant, showing attempts & failures as well as accomplishments.' In this most welcome & original program, she has realized all those goals." Chicago Tribune


"Also fine was any moment Skura herself was onstage. She can just stand there & pick up her foot & you feel you have seen something very funny & very poignant -- and you have." Joan Accocella

"I felt like I knew the base of your work, & then you do something so different.. such a huge amount of great ideas." Audrey Kindred

"Funny and sad. I was finally able to write the chorus of a song I'd been trying to think of for two weeks." Gayle Tufts

"You're one of the few choreographers I still want to go see -- you, Merce Cunningham, & Meredith Monk." Linda Tarnay


"Skura's developed a modus operandi of premiering a work, reworking it thoroughly, then showing the now-much-improved piece the following year. The reworked Big Waves seems tighter, denser, packed full of wonders. Its densely packed quality, coupled with a look of slapstick spontaneity, cannot be easy to achieve. So it's fortunate that she likes to show us her pieces over & over again, & they certainly can support repeated viewings." Henry Baumgartner, The New Common Good