Angels of Swedenborg is a dance theater piece that features eight angels and two spirits cavorting in a corral of white feathers alongside a modern day office space inhabited by Emmanuel Swedenborg. Although he embodied the European Enlightenment in many ways, 18th Century scientist and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg experienced extensive visions that he claimed transported him to heaven and hell. Ping Chong first encountered Swedenborg through Jorge Luis Borge’s singular work "The Book of Imaginary Beings" and was inspired to re-imagine Swedenborg as a contemporary man caught between his longing for material comfort and spiritual attainment.
PRODUCTION (original show)
Written and directed by Ping Chong
Assistant Director: John Fleming
Choreography: Ping Chong and John Fleming
Lighting Design: Jim Card
Sound and Production Design: Mac Dimmitt
Costume and Prop: Mel Carpenter
Technical Director: Dennis O’Shea
Set Design: Ping Chong
Eric Heffel, Lynn Book, Jan Bartoszek, Sheree Blakemore, Vincent Dopulous, Bob Eisen, Herb Lichtenstein, Donna Mandal, Robert A. Stern, Marie Chambers, Elyssia Hatch, Harkonen
MoMing Dance and Art Center, Chicago, IL (April 1985)
Walker Art Center (May 1985); Illusion Theatre (October 1985); St. Louis Art Museum (March 1986); Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH (March 1986); Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival (October 1986); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA (November 1986); the Venice Carnivale (February 1987); Festival des Ameriques, Montreal, Canada (June 1987); Marvin Center Theatre, Washington DC (March 1988); Wadsworth Theatre at UCLA (October 1988); BITEF Festival Belgrade, Yugoslavia (September 1989), Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia (September 1989), Croatian National Theatre, Zagreb, Yugoslavia (November 1989), Srpsko Narodno Pozoriste, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia (October 1989).
Revival: in association with La MaMa’s Great Jones Repertory, during a residency at the ’62 Center at Williams College, Williamstown, MA (September 2011)
Ellen Stewart Theatre (October 2011 - as the opening show of LaMaMa E.T.C.’s 50th anniversary season).
Commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art at the MoMing Dance and Art Center in Chicago, IL.
The original performance was made possible with grants from the Inter-Arts Program of the National Endowments for the Arts, a federal agency.