Elizabeth A. Miklavcic - Choreographic Works
One Door Down - September 25, 1986

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One Door Down (1986)

Choreographers: Elizabeth A. Miklavcic, Daniel Killpack
Music Collage: Daniel Killpack
Set Design & Construction: Jimmy H. Miklavcic
Dancers: Elizabeth A. Miklavcic, Daniel Killpack
Location: University of Utah Modern Dance Department Theatre 208
Length: 11:26 minutes
Originally developed by Elizabeth Miklavcic and Daniel Killpack as an improvisation in a built-in cabinet at the end of a long hall in the "Old" dance building for Shirley Ririe's composition/improvisation class at the University of Utah Modern Dance Department in the Winter of 1986. Resetting this work for the As Our Thoughts Escape Us proscenium venue concert involved Jimmy Miklavcic designing and building a stand-alone recreation of the built-in cabinet, so that it could be further developed in Another Language's donated rehearsal space in the Westgate Fine Arts Center where the Western Nut Company roasted their peanuts.

Inspired by the concept of secret spaces, surprises and children at play, Elizabeth and Daniel choreographed this duet by improvising in the cabinet set, gradually developing a sequence of interactions between the two dancers, the spaces within the set, and incorporating toys, as if this was a very large toy box.

Surprise was the operative word for the basis of much of the movement choices. Each new space held an unexpected new element. Additionally, they were working in the surrealist mode, where scale and direction were manipulated to give optical illusions as to what was up and what was down. Elizabeth built the costumes, Elizabeth and Daniel painted and decorated the set constructed by Jimmy Miklavcic, and Daniel composed the music collage for One Door Down.

At the very end of the dance, Brian Lee Varanzoff, hiding in a shelf throughout the whole dance, quickly opens his cabinet door and throws down another toy. His "reveal" is another surprise and continues to reflect the theme of how children play, when one wants to join in, but prefers to do their own thing within the sphere of the other children's activities.

On the Saturday night final performance, one of the cabinet doors broke and Daniel fell from a great height where he was standing at the top shelf of the cabinet set. His trajectory was almost directly over a pregnant by four months Elizabeth laying on the floor below. Daniel caught himself as he hit the ground and with great strength held himself up so as not to land on Elizabeth. Stunned, both dancers froze for a moment that seemed to last forever:

"Are you OK?" he whispered.
"Yes," she whispered back.

Miraculously both unhurt, they continued on with the dance and completed the performance without the audience knowing that a catastrophe was just nearly averted.