Mary Luft

What the National Performance Network has meant to me…. and to Tigertail

By Mary Luft

The NPN lies within an etch of history as I know it from the perspective of time in which I have lived. Etch: to delineate or impress clearly.

Tigertail’s particular “etch” of NPN time falls into a framework led by individuals of vision, great humor and daring, starting in the late 1980s with David White, Renata Petroni, Carla Peterson, leading on to MK Wegmann in 2000. Tigertail’s 30-plus history is formed by these individuals, among others and the many artists Tigertail has brought to Miami through the aegis of NPN support.

Access to the creative process – how fortunate to be involved in an organization that honors and supports the creative process.

Our artist footprint in the NPN includes (in alphabetical order), AXIS Dance Company, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Regie Cabico, Staceyann Chin, Jeff Curtis/Gravity Dance, Charles Dennis, Paul Flores, Dasha Kelly, John Kelly, Ralph Lemon, Heather Maloney, Victoria Marks, Bebe Miller, Celeste Miller, Tim Miller, Jennifer Monson, Marcia Milhazes, Lenelle Moise, Cristina Moura, Tere O’Connor, Iyeoka Okoawo, Sunni Patterson, Dana Reitz, Bill Santiago, Scott Turner Schofield, Jan Sebon & Kazak, Diana Szeinblum, Jose Torres Tama, Keith Terry, Donna Uchizono, Urban Bush Women, Denise Uyehara, Randy Warshaw, Max Winter, and Emanuel Xavier. I know there are a few more among the more than 500 artists Tigertail has presented. Alas, our paper files from the 1980s are yet to be digitized. Visit us at to learn more about our work.

For Tigertail there is a gap in our timeline “etch.” For much of the 1990s Tigertail was not a part of the NPN (we re-entered in 2000), as at that time we were primarily working with artists and exchange projects with Brazil. Before our hiatus, at the fall Annual Meeting in 1989, fresh from a Fulbright Fellowship to the very African city of Bahia, Brazil, instead of giving a standard Partner introduction, I remember circling the room performing a ritual of “purification,” sprinkling the floor of the room with white powder.

Seeing work live — wow, that’s where the beat lives. The physical, mental and emotional impact of experiencing hundreds of ArtBursts and performances at Annual Meetings, such memorable pieces as Pat Graney’s dance installation in Seattle, Universes in Knoxville, José Torres-Tama and Donna Uchizono in New Orleans, Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s solo in Los Angeles…..the list goes on.

Sit down, close your eyes and drop into your own memory bank of NPN artists.

August 2010

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