An Interview with Choreographer Sally Silvers About Her Alfred Hitchcock-inspired Dance

Photo by Paula Court

Photo by Paula Court

Sammi Lim for The Dance Enthusiast: Could you please describe a segment of the dance you feel especially proud of? Don’t say the whole dance – there’s always a favorite bit!

Sally Silvers: You’re right, there is something about each section that I admire and am proud of. But I’m going to point to the ending fight duet between Melissa Toogood and Dylan Crossman. It was composed using positions from a 1961 book called “The Complete Kano Jiu-Jitsu.” It’s amazing to see these dancers so beautifully trained, having danced with the Cunningham Company for years, tearing into each other in a punk “dancerly” way. It’s a side to both of them that not many have seen. Melissa is a delicious tomboy taking Dylan down. There is humor and intensity. The fight’s placement at the end came by mistake. While trying to order the 25 sections (which more or less follow the order of North by Northwest), I had two or three sections that were orphans with nowhere to go. I gave what I had worked out so far to Bruce to look at and he mistakenly thought the fight scene was in the proposed order last. He said, “That’s rad.” The more I thought about it, the more I felt I could justify placing it last. Hitchcock objected to the Hollywood endings forced upon him and often proposed, and even filmed many alternative endings. In North by Northwest, the ending seems tacked on as the lovers on a train pass through a tunnel (in an obvious sexual reference) and they were suddenly married without any transition from their Mr. Rushmore rescue scene. I decided I could justify the fight as a proper Hitchcock alternative ending.

Read the full interview here.


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