The Garden of Forking Paths

$1,200 of $15k goal

Raised by 11 people in 1 month
Nichole Canuso  PHILADELPHIA, PA

The Garden of Forking Paths is a movement and sound installation that leads audience members via audio prompts on a headset through a sprawling fabric labyrinth in the Bok building in South Philadelphia. The Bok, a former school built in the the Art Deco style, inspired Nichole Canuso Dance Company to create an experience that blurs the lines between audience and performer as they engage with the unique architecture of the building and with the South Philadelphia neighborhood in which it is situated.

This is NCDC's largest scale endeavor to date, involving over 60 people to complete the creative process.

The audio tracks for the performance are being translated and re-recorded in Spanish and Cambodian (Khmer) by working closely with neighborhood associations, professional translators, and a group of students from the Southwark School. Additionally, these students will be performers in sections of the The Garden of Forking Paths. The project also includes audio interviews with residents from the surrounding neighborhoods that can be heard in specific moments in the experience.

The Garden was originally created to respond to each audience member's individual experience. As we toured the production, the choreography also adapted to the architecture of each new location. This new version allows us to respond not only to the building's architecture, but also to its tenants and surrounding neighborhood. The piece reflects its new setting through the translation process, the student collaborators and the community interviews we've done with neighbors, each of which have shaped the project in new ways.

The Garden of Forking Paths is an intimate performance meant for only six audience members to experience at a time. The installation allows each person to oscillate between viewer and performance participant. Designed to illuminate the peculiar beauty of being alone in our own bodies through moments of solitude, observation, and active immersion, it encourages awareness in many forms.

This piece was originally inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and the Luis Borges short story The Garden of Forking Paths. After its debut in Philadelphia, it ran as a shortened version at The Orchard in Saratoga Springs,​ NY; ​The Clarice in College Park, MD; and the ​American Repertory Theater at Harvard University​ in Boston,​ MA.

Although The Garden of Forking Paths is generously funded in part by The William Penn Foundation's New Place/New Audience grant, NCDC still needs to make up the rest of the cost of the production. Your support will enable us to fully grow this project.

This is where you come in!

your donation will support:

- Recording sessions and work with translators
- Rehearsals and recording sessions with the students from the Southwark School.
- Interviews with residents from surrounding neighborhoods.
- Several months of rehearsals with dancers, designers, voice over actors and test audiences.

Ticket prices for The Garden of Forking Paths are on a sliding scale (starting at $10), so that this experience is open to as many people as possible. Yet, production cost for one day of the performance cost $85 per audience member due to the intimate nature of the work. Please consider donating to this project in the name of making art accessible. Your donation will be fully tax-deductible for tax year 2017.

For each donation of at least $100, you will be recognized with a designed t-shirt from The Garden of Forking Paths.

For each donation of $500, you are guaranteed 2 tickets to the performance of your choice.  And a t-shirt. and a set of magnets featuring the performers.  

The Garden of Forking Paths will be presented at the Bok starting May 10th through June 17th. 

The Garden of Forking Paths is funded in part by the William Penn Foundation and is supported by Ticketleap.


Conceived and directed by Nichole Canuso
Choreographed by Nichole Canuso in collaboration with the ensemble
Composers & sound designers: Michael Kiley, James Sugg
Performers: Nichole Canuso, Eun Jung Choi, Jenson Titus Lavallee, Scott McPheeters, Rhonda Moore, Guillermo Ortega, Annie Wilson, Andalyn Young
Contributing writers: Jackie Sibblies Drury, Anna McDonald
Set design: Anna Kiraly
Lighting design: Masha Tsimring
Costume design: Rebecca Kanach and Tara Webb
Prop design: Emily Schuman
Production manager: Robin Stamey
Stage manager: Elaina DiMonaco
Outreach Coordinator: Lanica Angpak
Assistant Outreach and Youth Coordinator: Cecilia Valadez
Translators: Jose Guillermo Ortega Tanus, Angkeakeo Hak
Voices in Recordings: Deborah Block, Nichole Canuso, Emmanuelle Delpech, David Disbrow, Elba Hevia y Vaca, Makoto Hirano, Simon Canuso Kiley, Michael Kiley, Putery Long, John Luna, Julianna Mendez, Nyta Teap, Sopheaktra Theng, Phorllie Tsen, Drew Tsen, Dito Van Reigersberg, Les Rivera, James Sugg.
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$1,200 of $15k goal

Raised by 11 people in 1 month
Created March 20, 2017
2 days ago
Rachel Fagen
8 days ago

We're still feeling the reverberations from this piece in my small community. <3 Art is life!

John Cherney
10 days ago
Helen Bowes
10 days ago

Looking forward to the dance!

11 days ago
Nicki Pombier Berger
11 days ago
Marc Miller
12 days ago
12 days ago
Shira Milikowsky
13 days ago

Love the Garden all the time everywhere always. <3

13 days ago
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