Commissioned by the Plug In Gallery to do a Performance/ Installation for ART OVER AIDS in November 1990, Alward poured 5 gallons of blood and semen on the floor of the gallery during a private ritual of mourning, and spent the next several hours cleaning it up. TOTENTANZ evolved from the image of a world-scale medieval theatre; a dance of death in its most tragic sense. AIDS has become a symbolic disease that has taken on apocalyptic dimensions. Alward used blood and semen in a ritual attempt to reconcile her own ambivalent attitude towards AIDS. TOTENTANZ addresses the idea of personal responsibility and Alward’s own self-conscious attempt as an artist to confront the inadequacy of art in the face of death.