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"Spirits of" A short video work by artists Dave Pawl and Sarah Bernhardt recounting the history of this historic ballroom in Watertown, WI.  Dancers used gestural vignettes to explore times of past military balls, prohibition speakeasies, WWII communications station, a dormant hall, and a new life and potential to come.

Time Based

"Shadow Play" 7:20- 2013-  Two refugee boys from Liberia and Nepal shift between the elusive grips of youth and adulthood as they enact the performance of play that is indicative of much larger, serious social structures.

"Rituals"  8:25- 2014 by Sarah Bernhardt and Dave Pawl 

"Heard" 30s- 2013-  To take the time, to be hear, to be heard, to listen to care for another.....

A site specific exploration of historical space that uses a contemporay interpretation of the folk tune "Simple Gifts." Two dancers move through a layered complex past of this religious space, poetically engaging the  ideas of repetition, contemplation, and cycles of the self and collective. 


"Turning Turning"

   video performance 

   4:44  2015 

8 sides 

Sarah Bernhardt 

David Pawl 

video performance 

8:08  2015 

Each year Watertown’s historic Octagon House comes alive with the explorations of visitors from May through November and then covers itself back up to hibernate for the winter months. This video explores the life and history of this extraordinary building.  Eight scenes.  Eight themes.


Performers move through the space interpreting each theme:  The house as a home for the Richard’s family, it’s originator Mr. Richard’s roles as a leader in transportation, a proponent education, and a public servant in politics, the welcoming of many guests, the tragedy of death, the innovative design in architecture, and as memorial preserving and communicating the past.

Special Thanks to the Watertown Historical Society, Jana Strobel, Melissa Lampe and WHS Art Students Sarah Klinger, Tory Kluewer, Jessie Knopp, Emily Oestreich, Gabi Schlicher, Caitlyn Schultz, Bailey Wolfe, Ellen Vitale.

You're Store

video performance





Traditions. Culture. Time. Cycles.  The Schempf family sings and walks across the screen re-inhabiting their names-sake history the "Big Schempf Store" downtown Watertown. For nearly a century the space was a bustling center of Midwestern commerce, community, and consumerism.  With costumes and gestures, The figures in the film explore the spectacle and structure of social choreography deeply rooted in the arch of time. The contemporary splices seeming "behind the curtain" tie this social choreography  to the universality of cultural performance. The images build to a mass of people (played by Watertown high school students) traveling through the space tracing invisible sqares on the floor. The religious choral underlying the multitude of footsteps speaks to the historical presence of religion as a cultural force and it's  subsequent decline.  The title "you're  store" references the colloquial advertising nick name  "your store" while subtly referencing the role department stores played in the development of capitalism. By contrast,  this piece explores in particular the beautiful significance of the family structure to shape and perpetuate the cycles of tradition and metamorphisis. 

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