Yvonne Rainer, a Giant of Choreography, Makes Her Last Dance


“In 1966, Yvonne Rainer presented ‘Trio A,’ her celebrated solo that emphasized movement over expression. By stripping dance of narrative, of emotion and even of the dancer’s gaze — there is no looking at the audience — the steps could shine. And those steps, delivered with the same temperament no matter how simple or difficult, were the dance. What did Rainer banish? Affectation. In another iteration of ‘Trio A,’ in 1970, the work expanded to six dancers, including Rainer, who performed nude with American flags tied around their necks like halter tops, at the People’s Flag Show at Judson Memorial Church in New York. The event was a response to the prosecution of the gallery owner Stephen Radich for showing work that desecrated the flag. Censorship, the Vietnam War — these were issues of the day. Now at 87, with 61 years of choreography behind her, Rainer is even more aghast at the state of the world. As a self-proclaimed news addict — ‘oy, oy, oy,’ she said, summarizing the anguish she experiences when reading the newspaper — she is putting the finishing touches on ‘Hellzapoppin’: What About the Bees?,’ which will be performed at New York Live Arts starting on Wednesday. She is calling it her last dance. … Rainer, a founding member of Judson Dance Theater, the experimental collective that gave birth to postmodern dance in the 1960s, was part of a generation that revolutionized the field. Her 1965 ‘No Manifesto’ laid out a new approach to dance, stating an opposition, for instance, to spectacle, to camp, to virtuosity. … In a way, Rainer’s last dance is an end-of-life-coming-of-age story, a chance for her both to examine her history and to speak out using familiar artistic tools: words, dance and the notion of ‘radical juxtaposition,’ a term used by Susan Sontag to describe Surrealist techniques and that relates to the assemblage of seemingly disparate objects. …”
NY Times
Yvonne Rainer on How Filmmaking Gave Her Language
Why Yvonne Rainer Gave Up Dance for Film
ARTFORUM – Yvonne Rainer, Part One: The Dancer and the Dance (1972), Yvonne Rainer, Part Two: “Lives of Performers” (1972)


From Lives of Performers (1972)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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1 Response to Yvonne Rainer, a Giant of Choreography, Makes Her Last Dance

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