Choreography: Hernando Cortez (2002)

Set Design and Camera: Edward Hillel
Editing: Henry Joost
Music: Ges-E and Usman, Niraj Chag, Buffalo Springfield*
Original Lighting by Chenault Spence

World Premiere: September 12, 2002
Cortez & Co. Contemporary/Ballet, Danspace Project
St. Mark’s Church, New York, New York

Full Company

Like every other part of the city, New York’s dance community was profoundly affected by the tragic events of September 11. In the one year since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, there has been time for reflection and healing. Many artists have created memorials, both physical and presentational, in hopes of honoring those lost and uniting those who remain. I started to craft this “memorial” dance performance only weeks after the attacks — though I didn’t know it at the time. Like many New Yorkers, I had a personal connection to the tragedy: one of my dancers, Liz Flynn, lived only blocks from the WTC, and during the initial communication blackout we panicked for we weren’t sure whether she was safe (she was). We were all so stunned at the time. If anything, I went out of my way to NOT do a September 11 piece. But as we went through our creative process, in the three first weeks of October, 2001, in our residency in Scranton, PA, it became clear that something rooted in an emotional connection to the event would evolve. How could it not? When not in the studio, we were glued to the newspapers and television to update us about our homes, our city! I feel strongly that while the work will definitely resonate with New York audiences now, it’s not necessarily intrinsically tied to the WTC terrorist attacks. Two Hours That Shook The World is about how humanity handles a monumental catastrophe. It could be Pearl Harbor, or JFK’s death — or Martin Luther King’s.  – Hernando Cortez

*”Flute Song” and “Dah Din Beats,” performed by Ges-E and Usman; “Redemption,” performed by Niraj Chag; For What It’s Worth,” performed by Buffalo Springfield, written/composed by Stephen Stills, published by Cotillion Music Inc., Richie Furay Music, Springalo Toones and Ten East Music (BMI).Created with generous contributions from the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19, Archbald, PA, Ballet Theatre of Scranton, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, DANSKIN™, Equinox Health Club 91st St (NYC).

Special Thanks to Dr. Catherine Richmond-Cullen for making this work possible.