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Water Locale

Mississippi River

Audience Site

Stone Arch Bridge


The Upper St. Anthony Falls tumble over the biggest drop along the entire Mississippi River. This is both a site sacred to the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations and the birthplace of the City of Minneapolis, where early residents used the power of the falls for lumber and grain milling.
The major water issue here is the Non-Point Source Pollution, or run-off from fertilizers and pesticides draining into the river creating the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Choreographers

Marylee Hardenbergh with Stephanie Engebretson. Marylee Hardenbergh has been creating site-specific dances on the Mississippi River since 1985. She is the Artistic Director of Global Water Dances and of Global Site Performance. Her site dance work has taken her around the world and comprises a chapter in the book SITE DANCE.
Stephanie Engebretson returns to her third year of choreographing and rehearsal directing for Solstice River. She teaches dance and directs various dance companies locally.

The Music

There were three parts to the music: an indigenous section, a local section, and a world section. For the indigenous section, we used  an Honor Song by A.J. Redman written to acknowledge and thank the four sacred directions. The local music, written especially for this specific site of river mile 859, is by J. David Moore, and captures the heart of the Twin Cities community.

The Performance

The audience stood on the Stone Arch Bridge and watched as the surrounding river corridor came to life with color and rhythm. Dancers appeared atop urban buildings on both sides of the river, in kayaks and over the mitre doors of the lock and dam. At the end of the performance, a 1200-foot long piece of blue fabric was let out along the bridge, and audience members ran to “help hold the river”.

How Can I Find Out More?

Contact Marylee Hardenbergh,


Directions to Site Location

The Stone Arch Bridge is approached from the downtown Minneapolis side at West River Road and Portland Avenue; from the east side of the river, the approach is from 6th Avenue SE and Main Street. The site is wheelchair accessible.

Other resources and links

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