Works & Process at the Guggenheim Daniil Simikin: Falls the Shadow

Falls the Shadow is a site-specific, 30-minute performance art piece made in and for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum rotunda.

American Ballet Theatre principal Daniil Simkim’s contribution to Works & Process–the performing arts series at the Guggenheim–is a hybridization of movement, fashion, sound, and technology. The performance is the product of many efforts: a new choreography by Alejandro Cerrudo, interactive media design by Aristides Job Garcia Hernandez, costume design by the Artistic Director of Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, and unique performances by dancers Cassandra Trenary, Ana Lopez, and Brett Conway, along with Simkim himself.

Designed to be viewed from above the spiraling ramps for the full visual effects of light and shadow, guests crowded against the ramps to witness the multimedia performance on two special nights of September 4th & 5th. Digital images flowed from the floor of the museum up to the ramps, reaching all the way to the dome, pulling the audience into the digitization. The experience was a harmony of juxtapositions; it was poetry brought to life by flesh, by physical bodies dancing and moving in front of our eyes.  An excerpt from T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” was handed out:


Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow


Between the conception

And the Creation

Between the emotion

And the response

Falls the Shadow


Between the desire

And the spasm

Between the potency

And the existence

Between the essence

And the descent

Falls the Shadow


The performance grappled with various binaries: of time and gravity, humanization and digitization, destruction and creation, structure and flow, gender: the presence and the lack of, calculation and impulse, violence and benevolence. It required the participation of the audience: for us to actively decipher, analyze, and attempt to comprehend the strange, otherworldly combination of sound, movement, and digital imagery.

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