Books usually bring a library to life, but dance just did too, during performances of the piece “Catalogue (First Edition)” Wednesday in the soaring white rotunda of Widener Library and Thursday at the Harvard Dance Center.

The work is a new piece by artist and choreographer William Forsythe, and was performed by onetime students Jill Johnson and Christopher Roman, now creative forces in their own right. Johnson is dance director for Theater, Dance & Media and artistic director of the Harvard Dance Project. Roman is artistic director of the Dance On Ensemble. Wednesday’s performance kicked off a two-day celebration sponsored by the Harvard University Committee on the Arts. After that presentation for the Harvard community, Johnson and Roman continued the cross-campus theme by teaching a master class in movement, an open house Movement Lab (TDM 141), in the Harvard Art Museums’ Calderwood Courtyard, itself becoming for students an open, sky-lit stage for dancing. The Harvard Dance Project also performed at its center.

1 Under the creamy-colored columns and ornate arches of the Widener Library Rotunda, Christopher Roman and Jill Johnson silently present “Catalogue (First Edition),” created by and with William Forsythe, their choreographer, teacher, mentor, and friend. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
2 Jill Johnson is a senior lecturer in Theater, Dance & Music and the Department of Music and director of the Office for the Arts Dance Program. Christopher Roman, artistic director of the Dance On Ensemble, is a visiting artist at Harvard this week. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
3 Students, staff, and visitors watched as the usually dance-less room came to life. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
4 Later in the day, Harvard students assembled at the Harvard Art Museums to learn from the masters—but first they watched. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
5 Jill Johnson and Christopher Roman explain the mostly upper-body movements of their routine. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
6 After some instruction from Jill Johnson and Christopher Roman, Justin Fox ’17 (left) and Genevieve Lefevre ’19 give it a try. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
7 A vigorous warm-up starts the class. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
8 Melissa Lago, a Divinity School student, photographs her classmates from the second level. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
9 Victoria Kwok ’19 appropriately wears Mondrian-like shoes for the occasion. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
10 William Forsythe created “Catalogue (First Edition),” which is staged without music, for Dance On, Christopher Roman’s Berlin-based company of dancers who are more than 40 years old. Younger participants Marvin Merritt ’20 (left) and Adi Snir, Ph.D. candidate, work to perfect their hand movements. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
11 Victoria Kwok ’19 adds elegance to her hand movements. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
12 Security guard Charles Popp looks down on the Calderwood Courtyard. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
13 Dancers Jill Johnson and Christopher Roman perform “Catalogue (First Edition)” at Harvard Dance Center. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
14 The performance was silent, with the only sound an occasional soft handclap by one of the dancers. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
15 Members of the Harvard Dance Project perform following “Catalogue (First Edition).” A faculty-led performance company, the Harvard Dance Project gives students a chance to be original cast members and collaborators in two or more diverse works created by pre-eminent professional choreographers. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
16 Members of the Harvard Dance Project perform. Harvard’s Dance Program regularly hosts guest artists and choreographers who teach master classes and hold residencies throughout the academic year, fostering exceptional opportunities for students to work with innovators in the field. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
17 Jill Johnson and Christopher Roman take a bow. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer