Ralph Lemon — dancer, choreographer, visual artist, as well as compiler and conceptual investigator into race and identity — is a Minneapolis native with roots in the local dance community. After graduating from the U of M in literature and theater, he worked with Nancy Hauser, whose approach was based in German Expressionism. He also worked with Mixed Blood Theater while he was here.
But after moving to New York, he began working with the likes of Meredith Monk, a cross-disciplinary artist par excellence. He also created his own dance company, and began choreographing formalist works of extraordinary invention and beauty. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he worked on a trilogy titled “Geography,” much of which was presented here via the Walker Art Center, which examined race, culture, modernity and spiritual concerns through movement, film and visual art, and with a variety of collaborators.
This weekend, he shows his newest piece, “How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere?” at the Walker. A collaboration with Walter Carter, a 102-year-old former sharecropper from the Mississippi Delta, the work probes and articulates the duo’s ideas on memory and transcendence, time and space, loss and grace. This four-part multimedia work includes Carter’s short movies, and live performance by Lemon’s group of six African-American and African performers.
The work actually concludes on Sunday, with “Meditation,” a free light-and-film installation throughout the theater, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., that transforms the performance space into an art gallery.
“How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere?” 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Tickets $16-$28. 612-375-7600.