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Rag (1976)

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Performance and Choreography by Dawn Kramer
© Copyright 1976
Music by Red Allen and Sidney Bechet
Original performer: Martha Armstrong Gray.
Video of Dawn performing is from 1986.

Rag was the first of a series of "everyday life " dances I made when I had young children and spent a lot of time doing domestic chores. The soloist takes ever so long to dust a wall with a red rag, swings a couple of metal pails vehemently, and hovers over an angry looking rake, without ever actually picking it up. "Rag" is a pun on the cleaning cloth, being "on the rag," and the ragtime music which accompanies the dance.


One of the strongest works created by a Boston choreograoher...All the words written in Ms. Magazine are not as telling as this tight piece.

-Iris Fanger, The Christian Science Monitor, April 13, 1978

Rag, a fierce little solo about housework… Dramatic tension comes entirely from Gray‘s attitude to a rag, a rake and two buckets… Every move is essential, by the time she has finished handling these utensils, Gray has delivered a hilarious and terrifying manifesto on housework, created an unforgettable character, and made a pretty good pun dancing as she does rag in hand to ragtime music… With such existential gloom that you know right away this isn’t going to be one of those theater events in which an actual task is performed. That lady isn’t going to clean anything up… With compelling energy and wit, Kramer and Gray have succeeded In fascinating an audience in the process of not doing any housework.”

-The Phoenix, January, 1978:

Dawn Kramer’s “Rag” is a cartoon featuring a woman (Gray) two buckets and a rag and - for Gray’s tour de force and Kramer’s delightful choreography &endash; it is wonderfully enjoyable material.”

-The Boston Herald, January, 1978

Dancer and Buckets
Dancer with a rake Dancer and Buckets