Steve Paxton: a Brief Chronology
April 22, 2014
“What would you do with a human body to turn it into a dancer and what fodder would you feed it to dance?” – Steve Paxton
#GalaTime is less than a week away and we are so excited! Don’t know why we’ve been hash tagging Steve Paxton? The big event is honoring him and Dia Art Foundation!
Danspace Project is proud to celebrate Paxton’s masterful investigations of movement forms that have defined a generation of postmodern choreographers.
The early 60s saw Paxton dance with the Jose Limon Company and perform several works by Merce Cunningham.
“One performance with Merce and I could pay my rent and get a hundred coffees.” – Steve Paxton in dialogue with Miguel Gutierrez, Danspace Project Platform 2012: JUDSON NOW catalogue
In 1962, Paxton became one of the founding members of the Judson Dance Theater. Like his collaborators, he attempted to break down the traditional barriers between dance and non-dancers.
“I wanted to make something that was outside.” – Steve Paxton
Following this period of joint creation with the members of the Judson Dance Theater, he developed the technique of contact improvisation.
“The reason it’s called contact improvisation is because there is a third entity that arises in the state – it is the state of agreement between the two of you that neither one is leading. It doesn’t become leaderless, the two of you are leading.” – Steve Paxton
Since the late 70s, Paxton has devoted himself largely to training workshops and writing.
“What confronts you who dance today in NYC today I dare not contemplate. I assume most of you live in Brooklyn? I assume most of you juggle jobs and classes, go without health care, mostly manage with the few affordable studios and performance spots that can be found. Do you eat? Do you imagine starting a family? Do you feel fulfilled as an artist? Does the city or the national government seem increasingly hostile to dance arts? Are you noticed? Noted? Remembered?
“I spent my first decade as a dance maker working with walking. Fortunately I had other dance with which to make a living. How is it that I could be allowed to do that? In what way would the world of art today tolerate such basic research? – Steve Paxton in dialogue with Miguel Gutierrez, Danspace Project Platform 2012: JUDSON NOW catalogue
In October 2013, Paxton premiered Night Stand (2004), made in collaboration with longtime collaborator Lisa Nelson, at Dia Art Foundation in Chelsea. In Fall 2014, a program of Paxton’s work will be presented at Dia:Beacon.
We can’t wait!
“I think I’m just as angry as I was in the sixties, and here is where I cultivate my pessimism.” – Steve Paxton
“The work is never done. Sanctuary always needed” – Steve Paxton