R E c e n t H a p p e n i n g s
The Let Go
July 1, 2018
At the invitation of Nick Cave, DD+D gathers fifty friends & acquaintances to participate in his The Let Go at the Park Avenue Armory, NYC, 3:30 – 5:30pm; Performers: Christopher Williams, Ana Karimi, Atillio Rigotti, Alexandra Berger, Astrid Brucker, Barbara Campisi, Brittany Murphy, Steven Hall, Peter Chamberlin, Christine Elmo, Clive Zheng, Douglas Dunn, Breckyn Drescher, Fareen Islam, Fumihiro Kikuchi, Gabrielle Riera, Gabrielle Garevlock, Julia Gleich, Grazia Della-Terza, Richard Gomez, Hsia-Jou, Jacob Burckhardt, Janet Charleston, Jacqueline Ledesma, Jonathan Hulland, Judy Hussie-Taylor, Kimberly Erin Quillan, Maya Lorkovic, Mark Hayes, Marlaine Glicksman, Masako Uetani, Michael Esteras, Annabel Lee, Carol Mullins, Nobuko, Orsolya Sanchez, Paul Engler, Philip Foster, Dan Reardon, Robin Schatell, JinJu Song-Begin, Sophia Isidore, Jill Twohig, Ildiko Viczian.
June 23, 2018
Douglas Dunn + Dancers performing on Governors Island as part of FIGMENT NYC. DD+D performing Disappearances & Tandemette. Dancers: Douglas Dunn, Jules Bakshi, Janet Charleston, Emily Pope, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Jake Szczypek, Alexandra Berger, Tim Ward, Paul Singh, Kara Hestevold.
TANDEM at THE YARD
June 14 & 16, 2018
Douglas Dunn + Dancers at The Yard performing Tandem in the Patricia N. Nanon Theater on two evenings. Dancers: Douglas Dunn, Jules Bakshi, Alexandra Berger, Emily Pope, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Paul Singh, Jake Szczypek, Timothy Ward, Christopher Williams.
VIsion Festival with Critical Response Trio
May 25, 2018
DD+D collaborating with the musicians of the Critical Response Trio as part of the Vision Festival at Roulette. Dancers: Douglas Dunn, Grazia Della-Terza, Jules Bakshi, Janet Charleston, Emily Pope, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Jake Szczypek, Alexandra Berger, Tim Ward, Kara Hestevold.
May 17 - 19, 2018
Douglas Dunn + Dancers performing TANDEMETTE (10’) on a mixed program as part of the Footprints Fourth Annual Modern Dance Festival at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, 5 West 63rd Street, NYC; Dancers: Timothy Ward, Jake Szczypek, Emily Pope, Alexandra Berger; Music: fading in & out of Calabrian folk singing.
April 23 through 28, 2018
Douglas Dunn + Dancers performing Tandem for six consecutive nights as part of the April Festival - Early & Late. Q&A with Douglas Dunn and Wendy Perron on Tuesday, April 24th after the second performance.
Tandem -(2018) (60 minutes) Performers: Douglas Dunn, Jules Bakshi, Alexandra Berger, Emily Pope, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Paul Singh, Jake Szczypek, Timothy Ward, Christopher Williams.
Dunn writes: "The new piece imagines wide space. You look out over a savannah, turning your head. What's going on over to the left, what's going on over to the right? In the studio, audience will sit against the brick wall, allowing maximum sideways stretch. The title? With bodies, singly or together, one move must follow another. While working, I consider this limitation an opportunity."
NYU STEINHARDT DISTINGUISHED FACULTY CONCERT
April 13 -15, 2018
On a mixed program with works by other faculty members, Douglas Dunn premieres a short piece titled Tandemette, made with NYU dance education students at the Loewe Theater in NYC. Dancers: Hannah Castoro, Jacqueline Ledesma, Jessica Moore Ruhlin, Chie Schultz. Music: Peer Gynt Suites No. 1 & 2 by Edvard Grieg
April 2 through 7, 2018
Douglas Dunn Solo - (1973) (60 minutes)
As part of the April Festival - Early & Late, Douglas Dunn performing Time Out for six consecutive nights in April 2018. Q&A with Douglas Dunn and Deborah Jowitt on Monday, April 2nd after the first performance.
Time Out - It was a pivotal year for Dunn. He was thirty-one. He had left the Cunningham Company in the spring of 1973. Grand Union was sporadically continuing. He had danced duet concerts with Sara Rudner, David Gordon, and Pat Catterson, here and there had also presented short solos on mixed programs. What now? He wrote: "I'm in turmoil. It's a question of confidence. These theatrical scenes running around in my head, for years. If I can bring them to life as an evening-length solo, my dance-heart will strengthen, I will persevere. If not, retreat to shyest corner is likely." The piece premiered at The Westbeth Theater, NYC, December 4,5. Parts of the solo were then included in a collage of '70s work at Dance New Amsterdam in 2007. Dunn says: "It's character work. There's hardly any dancing in it. I think I can do it. One last foray. The mature version."
ED Bowes Salon
December 9, 2017
On Saturday, December 9, 2017 Douglas Dunn hosted Salon Ed Bowes for the premiere of Seahorse Powder Room which included a Q & A with the filmmaker Ed Bowes. Seahorse Powder Room spends personal time with two adults and two children; variously writers, thinkers, and musicians, presenting in a weave of text, considerations of Judith Butler and queer poetics, a severed fox head and performance, as they mix in the the shadow of words, light and impermanence. The performers are Steven Taylor, Serena Chopra, Uli Miller and Patrick Pethybridge.
November 29, 2017
Douglas Dunn + Dancers were invited to dance on a mixed program as part of "8 in Show", a series curated by Sangeeta Yesley, at Dixon Place in NYC. Douglas Dunn + Dancers performed Oh Acis, a trio of dancing the story from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Oh Acis is Dunn's first narrative dance (after 46 years). The mortal Acis (Paul Singh) is in love with the goddess Galatea (Emily Pope). the jealous Polyphemus (Dunn) kills Acis. Galatea, using her power as an immortal, turns Acis into a river. The score for the ten-minute piece: Giovanni Bonocini's Polifemo (1702).
MILTON ART BANK
September 29 & 30, 2017
Douglas Dunn + Dancers were invited to dance at Milton Art Bank (MAB) at the invitation of Brice Brown in late September. Douglas Dunn + Dancers performed Contours inside the MAB Gallery on Friday, September 29th and on Saturday, September 30th the dancers performed Vain Combat through the streets of Milton, PA. Dancing by Douglas Dunn, Grazia Della-Terza, Jules Bakshi, Alexandra Berger, Kara Hestevold, Emily Pope, Paul Singh, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Jake Szczypek, Timothy Ward, Christopher Williams, and Keslie Koontz. Live music for both events by Steven Taylor.
Trying for something rougher than my indoor work, I made the street dance Vain Combat in 2010. The word Vain was meant to mean both arrogant and futile. No irony. From past experience I knew the difficulty of grabbing the attention of New Yorkers in their daily rounds. I allowed simple configurations and welcomed unison. The piece has been performed many times all around the boroughs over the last seven years There are fifteen sections, well over an hour of material. The dancers get together before a foray and settle on the half-hour score for the day. We behaved as a guerrilla force, entering public and private spaces without permission. Sometimes we are stopped and driven away, most famously on the Lincoln Center Plaza, where both guards and police confronted and banished us. We dedicated September 2017 to this dance. It was shown often and in diverse locations in NYC and Brooklyn. For the first time, we invited those interested to join the accidental audiences we will encountered. - Douglas Dunn
The rotating cast included: Tim Ward, Christopher Williams, Jake Szczypek, Paul Singh, Dare Ayorinde, Emily Pope, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Alexandra Berger, Jules Bakshi, Kara Hestevold.
EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE
August 7-11, 2017
Douglas Dunn + Dancers were invited to dance on a mixed program as part of the Dance-Forms' 74th International Choreographers' Showcase which was part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the Emerald Theater/Greenside Venues. Douglas Dunn + Dancers premiered Oh Acis, a trio of dancing the story from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Oh Acis is Dunn's first narrative dance (after 46 years). The mortal Acis (Paul Singh) is in love with the goddess Galatea (Emily Pope). the jealous Polyphemus (Dunn) kills Acis. Galatea, using her power as an immortal, turns Acis into a river. The score for the ten-minute piece: Giovanni Bonocini's Polifemo (1702).
Screening & ARTISTS talK
June 6, 2017
Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn invites Douglas Dunn & Charles Atlas to screen two video works, The Myth of Modern Dance (1990) and Secret of the Waterfall (1983) which was followed by an artists talk.
Brooklyn Performance Combine 2017
June 3, 2017
Douglas Dunn + Dancers were invited to participate in a collaborative evening of poetry, sound, dance and performance as part of the Norte Maar Brooklyn Performance Combine 2017 which took place at The Muse in Brooklyn. Dancers: Jules Bakshi, Alexandra Berger, Janet Charleston, Douglas Dunn, Kara Hestevold, Emily Pope, Paul Singh, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Jake Szczypek, and Timothy Ward.
The italian Dance Connection 2017
June 2, 2017
Douglas Dunn + Dancers were invited to dance on a mixed program as part of the IDACO NYC - The Italian Dance Connection 2017 festival which took place at The Baruch Performing Arts Center in NYC. Douglas Dunn + Dancers premiered a new piece titled Oh Acis. Oh Acis is a trio of dancing the story from Ovid's Metamorphoses and the lovers Acis and Galatea. Polyphemus in jealousy kills Acis, but Galatea turns Acis into a river as immortal as herself. Dancers: Douglas Dunn, Emily Pope, Paul Singh
May 31, 2017
Douglas Dunn participates in a Thematic Roundtable Eventt the Italian Cultural Institute as part of the IDACO - The Italian Dance Connection 2017 Program. The discussion facilitated by Cecilia Fontanesi.
Celebrating Fridays at Noon
May 20, 2017
Douglas Dunn + Dancers were invited to dance on a mixed program in celebration of three decades of Fridays at Noon (1987-2017) at the 92Y Harkness Dance Center in NYC. Douglas Dunn + Dancers premiered a short piece titled While Away.
Dancers: Douglas Dunn, Jules Bakshi, Alexandra Berger, Emily Pope, Paul Singh, Timothy Ward, Christopher Williams
Music: a) Estonian folk melody arranged by David Simons b) Codex Chantilly
April 29, 2017
Grazia Della-Terza and Douglas Dunn were invited to dance on a mixed program in celebration of the retirement of Deborah Riley at Dance Place in Washington D.C. Deborah has been leading Dance Place for many years and she was a member of Douglas Dunn + Dancers in the 1970s and '80s. Read interview with Deborah HERE.
Nyu Steinhardt Distinguished Faculty Concert
April 14 & 15, 2017
On a mixed program with works by other faculty members, Douglas Dunn premiered a short piece titled Rain Shadow, made with NYU dance education students at the Loewe Theater in NYC. Dancers: Whitley Green, Jacqueline Ledesma/Kara Hestevold, Miguel Lerma, Aliya Kerimujiang, Belle Ritter. Music composed by Steven Taylor.
A N T I P O D E S
Date: February 2, 3 and 4
Choreography: Douglas Dunn
Design: Mimi Gross
Costume Construction: Jennifer Fadel, Sue Julien, Quinndustry, Zak Vreeland
Set Construction: Mike Levy, Mimi Gross
Douglas's costumes made by Andrew Jordan after an idea by Douglas Dunn
Lighting: Carol Mullins
Original Score & Performance: Steven Taylor, Laura Brenneman
Additional Music: Shawn O'Sullivan, Katie O'Sullivan
Dancers: Jules Bakshi, Alexandra Berger, Emily Pope, Paul Singh, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Jake Szczypek, Timothy Ward, Christopher Williams. With Grazia Della-Terza as The Moon, & Douglas Dunn as The White Dwarf
The creation of Antipodes was made possible, in part, by the Danspace Project 2016-17 Commissioning Initiative, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Salon Steven Taylor
October 28, 2016
For this Salon event, composer and musician Steven Taylor sang selections from William Blake's Song of Innocence and Experience Showing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul (published 1794).
Douglas Dunn: American Modern Dancer at NAP Gallery & Performance
Gallery Exhibition: September 9 - October 30, 2016
Performance: October 1, 2016
An exhibition of works showcasing the Douglas Dunn + Dancers archive was on view at New Arts Program Space Gallery in Kutztown, PA from September 9th until October 30th, 2016. The title of the exhibition was Douglas Dunn: An American Modern Dancer. On October 1, 2016, Douglas Dunn + Dancers performed Infolding at St. John's UCC. Dancers: Douglas Dunn, Grazia Della-Terza, Alexandra Berger, Jules Bakshi, Emily Pope, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Timothy Ward. Music by Steven Taylor.
PerFormances & Workshops in NC
September 23 & 24, 2016
DD+D performed Infolding at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, NC as part of the Celebration of Black Mountain College. Founded in 1933, Black Mountain College was the first interdisciplinary liberal arts school. The school attracted and connected many talented artists including Merce Cunningham and John Cage. Cunningham formed his company at Black Mountain College and in 1952 John Cage presented his first happening there. Dancers: Douglas Dunn, Grazia Della-Terza, Alexandra Berger, Jules Bakshi, Emily Pope, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Timothy Ward. Music by Steven Taylor.
While in North Carolina, DD+D also conducted workshops with dance and theater students at UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University and Elon University. Teachers: Douglas Dunn, Timothy Ward & Jules Bakshi.
VAIN COMBAT at Astor Place
September 17, 2016
Douglas Dunn + Dancers was invited by Danspace Project to celebrate the reopening of Astor Place in New York City. DD+ D performed Vain Combat at the Astor Alive! Festival on September, 18th. Dancers: Timothy Ward, Emily Pope, Emily Bock, Douglas Dunn, Jake Szczypek, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Alexandra Berger.
VAIN COMBAT AT Socrates Sculpture Park
August 6, 2016
Douglas Dunn + Dancers were invited by Julia Gleich and Jason Andrew / Norte Maar to perform Vain Combat at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, NY on Saturday, August 6, 2016. Dancers: Jules Bakshi, Emily Pope, Emily Bock, Tim Ward, Tony Bordonaro, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Alexandra Berger. Choreography by Douglas Dunn, Music by Steven Taylor.
VAIN COMBAT AT Washington Square Park
August 5, 2016
Douglas Dunn + Dancers, one of the inaugural recipients of The Washington Square Park Conservancy Arts Mini-Grants, performed Vain Combat on Friday, August 5th at Washington Square Park. Dancers: Jules Bakshi, Alexandra Berger, Emily Bock, Douglas Dunn, Tony Bordonaro, Emily Pope, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Jane Szczypek and Tim Ward.
July 18-22 & 25-29, 2016
Breaking the monotony?
Is this The Dance of Death, or the death of dance?
Is it that you don’t want to bother us?
I can’t tell what you’re doing.
Though built by us humans, and for us humans, these Bunyanesque buildings make me feel really small. You know what I mean? Every day.
---Now I go back to work.
---So do I.
You’re like the chipmunks in my backyard; I’m not sure if I see them or not. If I saw them or not.
Are you performing?
I think I’m enlightened, but I don’t feel the benefit yet.
It’s 1994 and Douglas Dunn + Dancers is short of money. I think of Wall Street, right down Broadway from the studio, no shortage there. How address a whopping discrepancy of available wealth? Disappearances emerges. The instructions for the piece are to mix with the lunchtime crowd in the plaza at Broadway and Liberty for half an hour, then move to the Chase Plaza one block east for another half hour. Any behavior, dance or otherwise, is acceptable, but you are obliged not to be noticed as performer. If you are so noticed, you are to dissolve into a position or gesture or movement that reestablishes you as worker-on-break, or as tourist. If asked what you are doing, you are to lie your way back into contextual familiarity.
Impecuniousness strikes again like lightening here in 2016. Should Company operations cease completely? No. What, therefore, could be more felicitous than to remount this insubstantial protest, this wan gesture meant through contradictory evanescence to fulfill the promise to myself never to complain? A second time around, twenty-four years of living and dancing later, are we not better prepared to appreciate the subtleties of the interactions? Our attitude, the facial expressions with which we move, for example, often determine whether we remain acceptable as legitimate personae within New York City’s glorious anonymity, or suddenly stick out, like that phantom limb of the body politic, the Dancer.
Performers July 18-22 & 25-29, 1994
Company Dancers: Grazia Della-Terza, Kari Richardson, Douglas Dunn. Guests: Marie Baker-Lee, Dorothee Caan, Maja Lorkovic, Alice MacIntyre, Rachel Odoroff, Michele Oppliger, Mary Seidman, Margaret Whalley, Kriota Willberg, Rebekah Windmiller.
Performers July 11-15 & 18-22, 2016
Douglas Dunn, Michelle Applebaum, Jules Bakshi, Grazia Della-Terza, Carlye Denice, Dina Denis, Maira Duarte, Chie Kurokawa, Maja Lorkovic, Pavel Machuca, Alice MacIntyre, Alex Pfister, Emily Pope, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Danielle Staropoli, Lex Stavrou
Further writing on Disappearances will appear in a forthcoming issue of Tether. tether-magazine.com
Vision Festival with BILL COLE
June 9, 2016
DD+D collaborated with composer/musician Bill Cole as part of the Vision Festival at Judson Church. Dancers: Douglas Dunn, Jules Bakshi, Jessica Martineau, Emily Pope, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Paul Singh.
Salon Solos, Etc
May 31, June 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5, 2016
This Salon presented a fluctuating array of solos, duets and trios drawn from Douglas's 45 years of organizing bodies aesthetically to be viewed. Each evening was different, with some bits repeated here and there. The dancers were released from being one of many in the supportive context of a whole dance. They took to the stage on their own, in individual relation to the audience. We hope enjoyed these fragments, this archive-come- alive.
Dancers: Douglas Dunn, Grazia Della-Terza, Jules Bakshi, Alexandra Berger, Janet Charleston, Emily Pope, Paul Singh, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Jake Szczypek, Tim Ward, Christopher Williams. Set by Mimi Gross.
Evolving Collaborations: Mimi Gross + Douglas DunN
May 22, 2016
Presented by Cathy Weis Projects. Mimi Gross's Evolving Collaborations is a collection of drawings, designs, costumes and three-dimensional works developed over her nearly 40-year collaboration with choreographer Douglas Dunn. The presentation included a lecture, screening of video clips and live dancing which was followed by a discussion.
TOur Review Party
May 16, 2016
Show & tell event of our travels to Perth, Australia and San Francisco; Sharing photos on the big screen, live music, some dances and talking about our experiences on the road.
SARA DOES A SOLO (2015) Sara Porter
March 4 & 5, 2016
After three decades as a dancer and a writer, Sara Porter stands at the collision of the two in Sara does a Solo, a fearless account of an aging body and a reflective mind. Part memoir, part stand-up comedy, part dance performance, Porter creates a world where intimacy and pathos, hilarity and beauty co-exist in the physical stories she tells about life as an artist and a parent. Prompted by a chance encounter with singer Mary Margaret O'Hara, Sara does a Solo is a bold and beautiful account of mid-life.
CANNING WORLD ARTS EXCHANGE - PERTH, AUSTRALIA 2016
February 6, 2016
Douglas Dunn + Dancers traveled to Australia to participate in the Canning World Arts Exchange, a one night, outdoor extravaganza with audience in the thousands. Douglas Dunn, Grazia Della-Terza, Jules Bakshi, Alexandra Berger, Tim Ward, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Emily Pope and Paul Singh performed in conjunction and collaboration with Taikoz drummers from Sydney, Link Dancers from Perth, Canning’s own Community Choir, and the featured UNESCO Vietnamese Ede Gong Group. The costumes for DD+D are by andytoad.
DOUGLAS DUNN + Dancers in San Francisco
January 22 - 29, 2016
Douglas Dunn + Dancers performed at 500 Capp Street, San Francisco Art Institute and PianoFight in San Francisco, CA in celebration of David Ireland's life and work. Dancers: Douglas Dunn, Grazia Della-Terza, Jules Bakshi, Alexandra Berger, Tim Ward, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Emily Pope and Paul Singh.
DOUGLAS DUNN Curates Choreographers
December 4th & 5th, 2015
Two evenings of dances by Jules Bakshi, Douglas Dunn, Paul Singh, Jin Ju Song-Begin & Christopher Williams at Douglas Dunn Studio.
Douglas Dunn + Dancers at Sundays on Broadway
October 25th, 2015
Presented by Cathy Weis, Douglas Dunn + Dancers presented an evening of video, poetry, and dance at 537 Broadway. Featuring video by Glen Fogel, Jules Bakshi and Sandra Gibson, reading by Tom Haviv, live music by Steven Taylor, and dancing by Douglas Dunn, Jules Bakshi, Alexandra Berger, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Paul SIngh, Emily Pope, and Tim Ward. The evening ended with Q&A and conversation.
DOUGLAS DUNN + DANCERS WITH CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS @ 92Y
As part of an evening
Spirits of The Air & Heroes
presented by Christopher Williams
Friday June 26th, 8 pm, Saturday June 27th, 8 pm, Sunday June 28th, 3 pm
Douglas Dunn Jules Bakshi Tony Bordonaro Alexandra Berger Giulia Carotenuto Peter Chamberlin Grazia Della-Terza Jessica Martineau Emily Pope-Blackman Jake Szczypek Paul Singh Jin Ju Song-Begin Timothy Ward Mark Willis
Music by Steven Taylor Musicians: Jessica Schmitz - flute Alicia Lee - clarinet Ha-Yang Kim - cello Steven Taylor - guitar
SALON NEPAL RELIEF
On Thursday June 11th, 2015 Douglas Dunn + The Bakshi Family hosted Salon Nepal Relief
To raise money for earthquake relief
Photos by Jules and Ken Bakshi
Subtle Details Dance Theater: Jules Bakshi, Emily Pope-Blackman, + Lulu Soni
Live projections by Avery McCarthy
Music by Elias Meister
+ Dancing by Douglas Dunn
SALON INTERLACED DANCE JOURNEY
Micheline Lelièvre, Jean Guizerix
hosted screening of the documentary
Interlaced Dance Journey
Wilfride Piollet & Jean Guizerix
Tuesday April 28th, 8pm 2015
Douglas Dunn Studio
Including dancing by
Douglas Dunn Jules Bakshi Jin Ju Song-Begin
DOUGLAS DUNN WITH SALLY SILVERS
Douglas appeared with Sally Silvers & Dancers
on Sunday March 22nd at 92 Y as part of SIlvers' series:
Actual Size Plus
DOUGLAS DUNN + DANCERS AIDOS AT BAM
TORONTO CHRONICLE 11/21
Steven Taylor and I just spent ten days in Toronto. Three professional musicians and six experienced dancers appeared for our Saturday-Sunday workshop, Music & Dance: Friends or Enemies. We worked head-on, side-by-side, and back-to-back, playing as many dance-music juxtapositions and permutations as we could imagine. The rapport and the material were so enlivening that we fantasized taking the show on the road.
On Monday, at the invitation of Artistic Director Patricia Fraser, I lead a workshop at The School of Toronto Dance Theater. A record-for-me fifty-five students crowded the Studio Theater. Half had to sit no matter how free the moves. The congestion was in fact instructive: as viewers, each waiting group saw the kind of dance that results from setting mini-activities and allowing them to be executed in any order.
On Tuesday we had our tech. Steven sounded firm playing guitar and piano and coordinating with computer and multiple gizmos. Myself I was still figuring out how to arrange and how to time my planned bits, including a memorized monologue (“…asparagus grows out my head…”). To my dismay, despite the “age-justified” context, I felt a new vulnerability at the prospect of appearing solo, no accompanying youthful dancers to demonstrate vigor and virtuosity to offset my ramshackle anatomy.
On Wednesday at York University, at the invitation of Associate Professor Carol Anderson, I screened Secret of the Waterfall, the half-hour video-dance commissioned by Susan Dowling of WGBH Boston in 1983. What a pleasure! The direction, costumes and editing by Charles Atlas make mighty sprightly the steps I set on the company of that era: Susan Blankensop, Grazia Della-Terza, Diane Frank, John McLaughlin and Deborah Riley. Anne Waldman and Reed Bye weave in and out of the various scenes speaking lines they wrote during the eight days of shooting on Martha’s Vineyard. Despite being among young strangers, I teared up occasionally, falling headlong into the emotionally charged gap between here and now and these long-ago camera-caught moments of clarity, spirit and dedication. I recalled how numerous were the takes to arrive at perfected versions of each scene, how, despite our lack of experience dancing for film, we never flagged. Afterwards, with the students I talked about the process of adjusting to setting moves for the limited space of the camera as opposed to the breadth of a proscenium stage, where one needn’t be telling audience exactly where to look.
Later that day I lead a workshop with a different York group, making numerous small Open Structures, which they then performed as a Mix. A student asked afterwards do I construct dances in this way, inviting dancers’ choreographic choices. No, I answered…because I take pride in generating and organizing every aspect of what is to be seen…because it is unfair to dancers who may wish later to do their own work to have it already exposed in mine…because what interests me in art is original, risked, individual vision.
Thursday through Sunday Steven and I performed our latest iteration of Near Miss at Canadian Stage as part of the 15th anniversary season of Older & Reckless, the inspired format invented by Claudia Moore. Thrice yearly she provides a platform for past-prime dancers who have yet something to offer. Click here to see the diverse lineup: http://moonhorsedance.com/older_and_reckless_season_2014_2015.html
The warm generosity of these performers and their friends was wonderfully welcoming, as were the impeccable administrative attentions of Natasha Powell of Dance Umbrella. Steven and I felt valued and at home.
If dancing when youthful was flying free with wax-less wings…if dancing in middle age was pouncing cloud-to-cloud, landing ever so softly…then dancing at seventy-two is climbing The Eiger in a blinding snowstorm with frozen fingers and no rope. Stage fright I always found energizing. The trepidation surrounding and impinging on my five fifteen-minute exposures during this week was something new. Steven’s dynamite music and serious plus fun-loving presence buoyed. Whatever other resources came into play (“I’ve done this before, I can do it again,” and the like) were new and necessary. The semi-harrowing experience ignited an unexpected illumination: that without knowing it I have always held inwardly a qualitative threshold below which my company and I must not fall—because audience deserves at least that level, preferably above. Whether I made the grade is hard to know. We came through without disasters (I did not, for example, drop the shovel), and the responses were positive, so I take heart and will continue to plan to dance in Aidos, the new evening we are preparing for the BAM Fisher space, Brooklyn NY, February 11 – 15, 2015
On Tuesday October 28th, 2014 we presented a rare screening of Summers' film Judson Fragments, containing some of the only footage of Judson Dance Theater performances by Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton and Deborah Hay, and vignettes of Fred Herko shot specially by Summers for Fantastic Gardens.
The screening was part of a weeklong program of events to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Herko's death. For details of the full program, visit:www.freddieherko.com.
The film was followed by a Q&A session with Elaine Summers.
On three consecutive nights in February 1964, Judson Dance Theater choreographer Elaine Summers presented a cornucopia of dance, music, sculpture, film, slide projections and audience participation.
Fantastic Gardens featured music by John Herbert McDowell and Malcolm Goldstein, sculptures by Al Hansen, photographs by Billy Linich (Billy Name) and Stan VanDerBeek and costumes by Johanna VanDerBeek.
The dancers included Judson Dance Theater regulars Carla Blank, June Ekman, Sally Gross, Elizabeth Munro, Sandra Neels, Rudy Perez and Arlene Rothlein, as well as composer Philip Corner, poet Kenward Elmslie, artist Al Hansen, and Summers' husband Carol and infant son Kyle. Fred Herko, Christine Meyers and Sally Stackhouse played "Creatures," their naked bodies gradually accumulating multicolored layers of paint as they traversed the space.
Summers describes the event as follows:
The concert was presented in three parts with two intermissions. The first section consisted of a film collage of dances, using chance methods inspired by John Cage. In the second section [...] film images were splashed over the ceiling, floor, walls and audience, who were given small hand mirrors with which to pick up additional images. As the projected images, partially aided by mirrors placed near the projector lens, splashed very slowly over the audience, dancers began to dance inside large sculptural pieces which were placed within and outside the perimeters of the audience. The audience was then invited to participate in the dance by using their mirrors to light the dancers.
In the third section, "Other People's Gardens," one of the sculptures, a large metallic "tree" built of junk, became the instrument played by composer Malcolm Goldstein. [...] Fantastic Gardens was made with the rather bitter acknowledgement that you can't see in the back of your head. You were not meant to see everything. You were meant to deal with that question: "Where shall I look?" If you came back another night, you would see a whole different thing.
In his review in The Village Voice, Jonas Mekas described the work as, "a huge ballet-happening, often involving the entire audience and using the entire presence of the church itself, its walls, its columns, balconies, ceiling. Mirrors were distributed which the audience used to catch the beams of light crisscrossing the church. When one looked at the audience, it seemed to be dancing too, going through a variety of fluttering, floating movements, hands moving in the air as if they were chasing and following the light beams, in a strange ritual of light."
BOOK LAUNCH FOR JIM KLOSTY'S "JOHN CAGE WAS"
On Saturday October 18 from 5:30 – 8 PM at the Douglas Dunn Studio we held a book launch celebration of James Klosty’s John Cage Was "Intimate portraits and remembrances of one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century."
The event featured live music by Cleek Shrey & Friends, and dancing by Jules Bakshi, Jin Ju Song Begin, Yara Travieso.
LE MOUVEMENT: BIEL SWITZERLAND
September 8th, 2014
Company members Jules Bakshi, Ji Ju Song-Begin, Paul Singh, and I have just returned from Biel, Switzerland where we were part of Le Mouvement: Performing the City.
Invited local dancers worked with us for three days to fill out the cast for Vain Combat, the street dance DD&D has been showing anonymously off and on on the streets of NYC over the last four years. We then danced the piece three times a day for four days running.
This link will give you an idea of the breadth and goals of the festival. The curatorial emphasis was on conceptual work, the human body occupying public space in ways that articulate city densities and bring into focus the many often contradictory layers of urban consciousness. Vain Combat, with its energetic display of moves, tempos, rhythms and spatial configurations, came off as dancier and less idea-driven than other offerings.
Instead of the hit-and-run anonymity of the piece in NYC, in Biel we found ourselves one of many well-advertised performances daily taking over the heart of the not big city. Audience responses ran the usual gamut for street work, from total indifference to awed attention, with everything in between. Of course there were dogs, of course there were children (some beautiful young imitators, some obnoxiously derisive adolescents), and of course there were older folks wavering between annoyance at our being in their way and curiosity at the unexpected appearance in their familiar surround of a large coherent group of highly stylized human bodies. Noticeably different from NYC was deference on the part of those not caring to engage: they would walk well out of their way in order to avoid interrupting viewers, not to mention the performers. On the last day, Sunday, the stores were closed, the pedestrian traffic at a minimum, the viewers nearly all intentional festival spectators...the hush during quiet moments of the piece was magical.
Best Fall Wishes