Performance curated by Flora Weigmann and created in collaboration with Flora Weigmann, Carol McDowell, Rae Shaolan Blum, Ally Voye, Eva Wilder, Sarah Leddy and Sara Wookey (2008). 

Process Notes...

Quick show description:

Flora Wiegmann, a Los Angeles-based choreographer has gathered together artists from Los Angeles and New York to work under a time constraint of seven days to create new dance and performance.  From August 1st - 7th, they will cluster within the space of Highways to create new material; the resulting performance will be presented to the public on the 8th and 9th.  Just as the stars of the Pleiades pass together through a dust cloud, so will the seven artists move through this process.

The Pleiades also known as M45 or The Seven Sisters, is the name of an open cluster in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest to the Earth of all open clusters, probably the best known and certainly the most striking to the naked eye.

The cluster is dominated by a grouping of hot blue stars, which have formed within the last 100 million years. Faint reflection nebulosity surrounds the brightest stars and was thought at first to be left over debris from the formation of the cluster.  It is now known that the stars are currently passing through a dust cloud. When studies were first made of the stars' proper motions, it was found that they are all moving in the same direction across the sky at the same rate.

Rather than brought together by chance alignment, this is a physically related group of stars. The distance to the Pleiades is an important first step in the so-called cosmic distance ladder, a sequence of distance scales for the whole universe. Ultimately, it is the Pleiades who contribute to the understanding of the age and future evolution of the universe.  Also, like most open clusters, the Pleiades will not stay gravitationally bound forever, as some component stars will be ejected after close encounters and others will be stripped by tidal gravitational fields.


Choreographers and performers include:

Carol McDowell

Rae Shaolan Blum

Sarah White

Flora Wiegmann

Sara Wookey

And 2 more TBA…..



Aug. 1st (Friday) meeting at my studio: 748 Rennie Ave, Venice, 1 p.m.  To discuss concepts, interests, plans, etc.  Space will remain open for anyone who wants to stay and move around.

Saturday Aug 2nd :

More conceptual preparation…..Studio will be open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.  Walk down boardwalk in Venice is suggested + some time on the beach.  Dinner at my house for anyone who’s interested afterwards.

Sunday Aug 3rd:  12-6 p.m. open rehearsal at Highways

Monday –Thurs: 11-6 p.m. open rehearsal at Highways

Thurs 6 p.m.: tech walk-through with the works so far (this will be rough and unfinished as we have one more day to make stuff/changes, etc.

Friday: 11-4 p.m. Open  rehearsal at Highways

4 p.m. tech walk-through

5:30 p.m. dress run-though

8:30 show

Saturday: 6:00 call, run through anything we want, etc

8:30 show


Here’s some text I found online.  I have highlighted in red some of the things that stick out to me as possible sources of interest.  I love the very last story especially!!!

seven dusty sisters

The Pleiades are a prominent sight in the Northern Hemisphere in winter and in the Southern Hemisphere in summer, and have been known since antiquity to cultures all around the world, including the Maori and Australian Aborigines, the Chinese, the Maya called them Tzab-ek, the Aztec and the Sioux of North America. Some Greek astronomers considered them to be a distinct constellation, and they are mentioned by Hesiod, and in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. They are also mentioned three times in the Bible (Job 9:9, 38:31; Amos 5:8).

The Pleiades (Krittika) are particularly revered in Hindu mythology as the six mothers of the war god Skanda, who developed six faces for each one of them. In Islam The prominent commentators of the Noble Quran like Ibn Kathir mention At-thuraiya (the Pleiades) to mean the Star in Najm 53:1 according to tafsir of Mujahid ibn Jabr, as confirmed by Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari. Also there is a hadith in relation to verse of Quran Al-Jumua 62:3 suggests that if faith were near At-thuraiya (the Pleiades), then a descendent of these folk, i.e, Salman's Salman Al-Farsi would attain it.

The cluster's relative motion will eventually lead it to be located, as seen from Earth many millennia in the future, passing below the feet of what is currently the constellation of Orion. Also, like most open clusters, the Pleiades will not stay gravitationally bound forever, as some component stars will be ejected after close encounters and others will be stripped by tidal gravitational fields. Calculations suggest that the cluster will take about 250 million years to disperse, with gravitational interactions with giant molecular clouds and the spiral arms of the galaxy also hastening its demise. 

Names and Technical Information

The nine brightest stars of the Pleiades are named for the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology: Sterope, Merope, Electra, Maia, Taygete, Celaeno and Alcyone, along with their parents Atlas and Pleione. As daughters of Atlas, the Hyades were sisters of the Pleiades. The name of the cluster itself is of Greek origin, though of uncertain etymology. Suggested derivations include: from plein, to sail, making the Pleiades the "sailing ones"; from pleos, full or many; or from peleiades, flock of doves.

The Pleiades in Folklore

Ancient civilizations looked to the heavens as guides for their daily lives. They attributed many things to these gods who were both god and bad - kind and harsh. They created mythological tales about those who came from the different star systems. They believed that the gods lived in the heavens and sometimes flew down to the planet bringing messages of teaching or warnings of disasters. These people communicated with their gods through meditation and dreamtime. They believed that the gods would one day return.

The alignment in the heavens is like a blueprint upon which those on the planet can plan their daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly activities. The heavens were also the way they plotted their seasons so they would know when to plant and when to harvests, when the waters would come and when it would be dry. In essence they worshipped those from the skies, the Pleiades being a major factor for many civilizations.

The Pleiades' high visibility in the night sky has guaranteed it a special place in many cultures, both ancient and modern.

The Pleiades are mentioned three times in the Bible, twice by name and once by reference, in Job 9:9, again in Job 38:31, and alluded to in Amos 5:8.

Hebrew - Kimah: a cluster (Hebrew)

Egypt - the Pleaides represent the goddess Net or Neith, the "divine mother and lady of heaven".

Japan - the word for Pleiades translates to 'Subaru'. If you examine the insignia logo for this line of cars, you'll see a stylized symbol of the Seven Sisters as ancient mythology meets modern industry.

China - Kimah - The Pleiades seem to be the among the first star mentioned in astronomical literature, appearing in Chinese annals of 2357 B.C. China - The Blossom Stars and Flower Stars

Rome - The Bunch of Grapes and The Spring Virgins

Old English, Old German, Russian, Czech and Hungarian - The Hen and Chicks

To the Vikings, they were Freya's hens, and their name in many old European languages compares them to a hen with chicks.

To the Bronze Age people of Europe, such as the Celts (and probably considerably earlier), the Pleiades were associated with mourning and with funerals, since at that time in history, on the cross-quarter day between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, which was a festival devoted to the remembrance of the dead, the cluster rose in the eastern sky as the sun's light faded in the evening. It was from this acronychal rising that the Pleiades became associated with tears and mourning. As a result of precession over the centuries, the Pleiades no longer marked the festival, but the association has nevertheless persisted, and accounts for the significance of the Pleiades astrologically.

Indigenous Australians: Depending on the tribe or clan, some Indigenous Australian peoples believed the Pleiades were a woman who had been nearly raped by Kidili, the man in the moon. Another version, often painted by Gabriella Possum Nungurayyi as this is her dreaming (or creation story), daughter of the late Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri from the Central desert art movement of Papunya, depicts the story of seven Napaltjarri sisters being chased by a man named Jilbi Tjakamarra. He would practice love magic to seduce the sisters but they had no intention of being with him and ran away. They sat down at Uluru to search for honey ants but when they saw Jilbi, they went to Kurlunyalimpa and with the spirits of Uluru, transformed into stars. Jilbi transforms himself into what is commonly known as the Morning Star in Orion's belt, thus continuing to chase the seven sisters across the sky. Pitjantjatjara tribe - Kungkarungkara: the ancestral women. Australian Aboriginal - Adnyamathanha tribe - Makara: The wives of stars in the Orion constellation

In Japan, the Pleiades are known as Subaru, and have given their name to the car manufacturer whose logo incorporates six stars. Subaru Telescope, located in Mauna Kea Observatory on Hawaii, is named after the Pleiades also.

In Chinese constellations, they are mao, the Hairy Head of the white tiger of the West, while the name of the Hindu God Kartikeya means him of the Pleiades.

South Africa - Khuseti: the stars of rain, or rain bearers. (Khoikhoi tribe)

In the Swahili language of East Africa they are called "kilimia" which means "digging stars" as their visibility was taken as a sign to prepare digging as the onset of the rain was near.

Hindu - The Flames of Agni (the god of Fire): the divinities of fire in its beneficent form and the wet nurses for Kumara, the god of War. Also The General of the Celestial Armies. In Western astrology they represent coping with sorrow and were considered a single one of the medieval fixed stars. As such, they are associated with quartz and fennel. In Indian astrology the Pleiades were known as the asterism (nakshatra) Krittika (which in Sanskrit is translated as "the cutters.") The Pleiades are called the star of fire, and their ruling deity is the Vedic god Agni, the god of the sacred fire. It is one of the most prominent of the nakshatras, and is associated with anger and stubbornness.

The word has acquired a meaning of "multitude", inspiring the name of the French literary movement La Pleiade and an earlier group of Alexandrian poets, the Alexandrian Pleiad.

Native Americans: The Sioux of North America had a legend that linked the origin of the Pleiades to Devils Tower. According to the Seris (of northwestern Mexico), these stars are seven women who are giving birth. The constellation is known as Cmaamc, which is apparently an archaic plural of the noun cmaam "woman". It was common among the indigenous peoples of the Americas to measure keenness of vision by the number of stars the viewer could see in the Pleiades, a practice which was also used in historical Europe, especially in Greece.

Native Amercians believed in constellations and created ancient star maps. Legend has it that they exist at the center of the Earth or 'Turtle Island'. That beyond them was the sky and that beyond the sky were dimensional portals or sky holes. Beyond the dimensional portals was an area that they call the 'Ocean of Pitch', were the beauty of the night sky and the galaxies spun out towards them. Beyond that were the boundaries of the universe. And that set along the rim at the boundaries of the universe were 4 different extraterrestrial groups.

At the destruction at each of the ages of mankind the people that were pure of heart went down into the buxom of the Earth and there remained protected. According to them they dwelt in the center of the Earth with a group of beings that they call the Ant People. Drawings of the Ant People are remarkable similar to the gray aliens, large heads, little stocky bodies, long spindly fingers, in some cases 4, 5, or 6 digits. Some of these drawings have the indication of telepathic thought waves coming from the beings'.

Early Dakota stories speak of the Tiyami home of the ancestors as being the Pleiades. Astronomy tells us that the Pleiades rise with the sun in May and that when you die your spirit returns south to the seven sisters.

The Hopis called the Pleiadians the 'Chuhukon', meaning those who cling together. They considered themselves direct descendents of the Pleiadians. Hopi Prophecy and Legend

The Navajos named the Pleiades the 'Sparkling Suns' or the 'Delyahey', the home of the 'Black God'.

The Iroquois pray to them for happiness.

The Cree came to have come to Earth from the stars in spirit form first and then became flesh and blood.

They believe that Mythic Mountain is actually the home of the Kachinas [Gods]. This mountain top is sacred. Being the home of the Kachina spirits it is the place where all of the large mythic beings they honor in their rituals land. "We come as clouds to bless the Hopi people" is a quote passed from generation to generation. There are some remarkable drawings that appear to be luminous discs of light in the petroglyphs  in the southwest.

Native Americans believed that the home of the Kachinas was on top of a mountain where there were great cloud formations. Today we know that UFO's often hide in what we call Lenticular Clouds. These are cloud formations that resemble UFO's and are said to hide actual spacecraft.

One legend ties the Pleiades to a Savior. On a street in the Holy Land, the Savior smelled the delicious aroma of freshly-baked bread. Entering the shop, the Savior was instantly recognized by the baker who presented Him with a tasty treat and a chance to rest from His labors. In gratitude, the Savior placed the baker, his wife and seven daughters in the Heavens to be safe with Him forever.

Some Native Americans believed that all tribes in North America came from the Pleiades. That they were actually descendants and had been given a task by the Pleiadians to keep the Earth safe.

Another legend tells of seven maidens who were being pursued by a ferocious bear. Kneeling to pray for help, they called on the Indian gods, who raised the ground where they were located high into the air. Angered, the bear clawed at the earth in a vain attempt to reach them. After leaving huge claw marks in the unyielding earth, the bear finally gave up and retreated. The maidens were turned into stars and placed in the sky forever out of harm's way. The site is what we now call the Devil's Tower, scene of the climactic alien visit in the movie 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind.'