The Return of Lot's Wife
  Production Info
  Carter's Notes



Sara Pearson

photo by Jack Vartoogian



    "It all begins with the move to Canaan. Abraham declares that he and his wife should grab the tablecloths and the kids and get out. Don’t look back, which of course Lot’s wife, here played by Pearson, famously did. Questioning God’s absolute decision to punish her for looking over her shoulder, Pearson whined, "My husband is a pillar of the community; I am a pillar of salt."...
    Widrig was her foil, the mate who survives God’s wrath, and the choreography tested the company’s physical capabilities, scurrying across the floor, stealing the down dog from the Yoga folks, and sweeping up the salt used in abundance throughout the piece.
    The commissioned score, written by Carter Burwell for string instruments, seemed to contain traces of Hebrew melodies. It was performed live, and is one of the finest I have heard for modern dance. Between segments, the Persian poetry of Hafiz was recited by Kouross Esmaeli, each poem setting up the next "act" and giving the company time to set up the props and minimal scenery. The dialogue in which Pearson questioned the urgency of Lot’s decision to leave ("I have to cancel my hair appointment") was a priceless vignette.
    The astounding finale had the four principals, each carrying a container of salt, waving it overhead to create flowing arcs of white that fell to the ground like a fresh snowfall. As the lights dimmed on the figures, still in motion, it was clear that Pearson and Widrig had created a sustaining and memorable image for this important work." - Phyllis Goldman, Back Stage, February 14, 2003.



Sara Pearson

photo by Richard Termine

Top of Page

Pearson Widrig Dance Theater

Kennedy Center Programs Kennedy Center archives include a Real Player video of the entire performance of March 31, 2003.


Top of Page


Production Info

Written, choreographed and directed by Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig

Dance performed by Katherine Fisher, Lindsay Gilmour, Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig

Music by Carter Burwell

Music performed by Carter Burwell, Erik Friedlander, Joyce Hammann, Lois Martin

Recorded and mixed at The Body Studio

U.S. Premiere January, 2003, Joyce Theater, NYC

Carter's Notes

I've played accordion along with Sara and Patrik's dance work before, in scores written by my friend Bob Een, but this was the first time I'd written music for them.

Among the complications for me was that I was in Los Angeles for much of the development of the piece, which was going on in New York. The most challenging part of performing the work, though, was conducting the string players while watching the dancers for cues, playing piano (and sampled bass) and triggering drum loops, all at the same time. This is something people have done elegantly before but it kept me on the edge of my seat.

Audio Samples

Here are some pieces from the score:

  Title Format  Len   
  Opening Dance  mp3  4:58  
  Table Monologue  mp3  4:07  
  Patrik Solo  mp3  3:31  
  Duet / Double Duet  mp3  6:47  
  Standing Dance  mp3  8:26  
  Ironing  mp3  3:36  
  Desert Crossing  mp3  5:40  

For an explanation of the columns above, click here .

Top of Page


This Flash video contains excerpts from a performance of the piece at the Joyce Theater in New York City, January 19, 2003.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

This is a Flash Video (8:25, 14.6M)

Top of Page


Last modified on: