A Pluralistic View of the Judson Dance Theater Legacy: Yvonne Rainer & Aileen Passloff with Wendy Perron
October 28 2012 at 15:00
The divergences between the work of Yvonne Rainer and Aileen Passloff highlight the vastness of the imprint of Judson Dance Theater (1962–64; JDT) while dismantling the myth of a singular Judson aesthetic. Rainer, along with dance artists Steve Paxton, Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, David Gordon, and others, broke with the conventions of modern dance by exploring task dances and the Dadaist idea of radical juxtaposition. Passloff, along with Jimmy Waring, Fred Herko, Arlene Rothlein, and others, reveled in the full-out dancing and fantasy of modern dance.
The talk was presented in conjunction with “Movement Research in Residence: Rethinking the Imprint of Judson Dance Theater Fifty Years Later” as part of the New Museum’s RE:NEW RE:PLAY Performance Residence Series. In this talk, moderated by Wendy Perron, Rainer and Passloff considered the legacy of Judson Dance Theater from the perspectives of their divergent practices. Some questions that Rainer and Passloff addressed in the talk included: What were you saying “No” to, and what were you saying “Yes” to? In what ways did the ’60s affect Judson Dance Theater? How did others in the JDT collective influence your work? What artistic values do you feel JDT has handed down to later generations?
Yvonne Rainer, born in 1934, was a dancer/choreographer, then a filmmaker, then a choreographer/performer again, and an occasional writer. Her work has been seen internationally and rewarded with numerous museum exhibitions, awards, and grants. Three dances—one from 1963 and two of more recent vintage—were presented at Danspace on November 1–3, 2012.
Aileen Passloff’s earliest training was at the School of American Ballet, where she met James Waring who was to become a huge influence on her life. Later, she danced with Katherine Litz and studied flamenco in Madrid with Mercedes and Albano. Passloff had a dance company in New York for ten years and has taught dance at Bard College since 1969.
Wendy Perron, editor-in-chief of Dance Magazine, had a thirty-year career as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and writer. She was a member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company in the 1970s, and led her own dance company in the 1980s and ’90s. She has taught at Bennington, Princeton, and NYU, and written for the New York Times, Ballet Review, and the Village Voice.