Penelope Freeh & Alanna Morris-Van Tassel by Shelly Mosman

Bring It Down Under Your Feet

Penelope Freeh & Alanna Morris-Van Tassel
Ticket Prices: 
Virtual Performance (Household): $25

Penelope Freeh & Alanna Morris-Van Tassel present two riveting solos and one duet, each exploring the history of narrative. Their original duet, Bring It Down Under Your Feet, roots in the poetry of Rumi to excavate shared and respective grief, empowering radical transformation. This program engages mature content and may not be suitable for children under the age of 16.

This performance is part of MERGES IN MARCHwhich expands on The Cowles Center’s MERGE program to facilitate six nights of three inter-disciplinary and ground-breaking performances. Join us to experience their collaboration in action!

Purchase Virtual Performance Tickets


About the Solo Pieces:

Black Light re: Search

Alanna Morris-Van Tassel is currently developing Black Light re: Search, a solo performance work-in-progress that unmasks the Self through the lens of masquerade traditions of the Nagot-Yoruba people (Orisha of Nigeria) and its archive in the Caribbean nations of Trinidad, Tobago, and Grenada. Black Light re: Search is a living depository and archive of Alanna’s journey in, first, unmasking herself.  This work explores manifestations of shadow self and the latent psyche, and asks questions around the nature of the perceptivity of BLACK - as mysterious, as frightening, and as the primordial creative force in the Universe. 

Black Light re: Search begins with a pre-show ritual in The Cowles Center’s U.S. Bank Atrium lobby during which the audience, guided by Black Light Collaborators (singers, poets, dancers, and drummers), are invited to share an intentional space to engage in meditations, actions, and witnessing around ideas of birth/creation; death/transition; and ancestral veneration.

Penelope - A Cabaret

Penelope - A Cabaret reimagines Penelope of Greek mythology as a Weimar-era cabaret performer. Excavating personal mythologies and truths, this intimately embodied solo reclaims hyper-feminine physicalities and curates the gaze, controlling what is and isn’t seen. Inspired by Freeh’s obsessions with pre-code film, chorus lines, corps de ballet, and the tensions between onstage and off, Penelope - A Cabaret wryly explores misogynist culture and the practices of a bygone era, turning the lens toward the present moment.   

“Mythic material was originally oral, and also local – a myth would be told one way in one place and quite differently in another.”-  Margaret Atwood: Introduction to The Penelopiad

Penelope - A Cabaret features live piano accompaniment by Marya Hart, original lighting design by Valerie Oliveiro, and project mentorship by Randy Reyes. 

From the creators: “We are beyond excited to share an artistic process and stage for the first time to dynamically explore shared respective identities, influences, and poeticized passions.”

About the artists:

Penelope Freeh is a dancer, choreographer, educator, and writer who honors and manipulates classicism and traditional Western vocabularies. She is a McKnight Fellow for Choreographers, a McKnight Fellow for Dancers, and Sage awardee for Outstanding Performer. Her work is in the repertoires of James Sewell Ballet (JSB), Minnesota Dance Theatre, and Zenon Dance Company among others. Working frequently with local composer Jocelyn Hagen, their original dance opera Test Pilot won a Sage for Best Overall Design and toured the state in 2016. Penelope danced for JSB for seventeen years, serving as Artistic Associate from 2007-11. She is faculty at the University of Minnesota, the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, TU Dance, and Zenon Dance School. She holds a Dance MFA from Hollins University.

“Freeh’s modern ballet is prickly as baroque music, detailed as crazy quilts, and smart in every flick of the wrist... Freeh choreographs as if movement were the only way to project a self into the world.”

– Lightsey Darst, 

Brooklyn-born Dancer, Educator, Choreographer and Artist Organizer, Alanna Morris-Van Tassel is one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch 2018, City Pages’ Artists of the Year 2018, and City Pages’ Best Choreographer 2019.  Her last solo work, “Yam, Potatoe an Fish!” was named one of Star Tribune’s Best of Dance 2018.  Alanna’s choreography excavates cultural retention and fragmentation as it relates to her Caribbean diasporic identity around ideas of home, place, displacement, spirituality, tradition, and ritual.  She was a leading performer with TU Dance from 2007-2017 and served as the company’s Artistic Associate from January to September 2020. Morris-Van Tassel founded AMVTP in 2017 to produce solo dance works and global commissions that inspire and uplift our humanity; build educational programs that use the arts as springboard to facilitate learning; and spearhead community-building initiatives that provide mid-career female creatives with resources to thrive.  Alanna is a 2015 McKnight Dance Fellow and a proud graduate of The Juilliard School and the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Vist her website

Wherever you find her, Morris-Van Tassel embodies the power of dance to create deep and lasting connections where words cannot.” -Camille LeFevre (Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch!” 2018)

Image Credit: Penelope Freeh & Alanna Morris-Van Tassel by Shelly Mosman


Mar 12
Fri @ 7:30pm
Mar 13
Sat @ 7:30pm