DANCE ON | ENSEMBLE - WORKS IN SILENCE - LUCINDA CHILDS
Anna Herrmann, Emma Lewis, Gesine Moog, Miki Orihara,
artistic direction / stager
DANCE ON / DIEHL+RITTER
DANCE ON is an initiative by DIEHL+RITTER gUG funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
STUK House for Dance, Image and Sound, Leuven (BE),
Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich (DE)
Doppelpass Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation
STUK House for Dance, Image and Sound, Leuven (BE)
approx. 60 minutes
links & downloads
> performance sheet (EN)
> dossier de diffusion (FR)
> full video (password)
> HR photos (password)
> technical rider (password)
> A Steady Pulse, Restaging Lucinda Childs 1973-78, by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
"Working in dance during a time requiring physical separation has proven to be an almost impossible endeavour. For the Dance On Ensemble we are fortunate to have embarked on a series of works prior to the pandemic that, once travel restrictions and personal lockdown measures were eased, has proven to be not only possible, but timely, poetic and evocative of the social issues we face within this new situation.
Community. Sharing. Understanding. All things that have become precious and needed are directly the labor and the message that Lucinda Childs Works in Silence conveys. A quiet unspoken dialogue between performers facing their own paths in a shared space. Whose outcome can only be successful when one’s sense of self is acknowledged, and released to the greater good of the group. The dancers work to understand what they need to continue, and leave behind what isn’t absolutely essential. Focusing instead on what their individual strengths can bring to the support of the unity.
The physical language of Lucinda Childs focuses on the essential. Moving through space by walking, changing direction, skipping, turning, all within a rhythmic structure that is the invisible network through which the dancers communicate. In this essence we see how returning to what is simple and clear is at the core of what defines beauty. And experiencing the beautiful collectively as an audience… this is joy." Ty Boomershine
WORKS IN SILENCE / FIVE CHOREOGRAPHIES BY LUCINDA CHILDS
Untitled Trio - premiere June 1, 1968 /1973; Judson Memorial Church, New York, NY
Congeries on Edges for 20 Obliques - premiere March 8, 1975; Y.M.C.A. Nyack New York
Katema - premiere March 12, 1978; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Radial Courses - premiere June 23, 1976; Washington Square Methodist Church, New York, NY
Melody Excerpt - premiere November 3, 1977; Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
WORKS IN SILENCE offer insight into a decisive development phase of one of the most important choreographers of the 20th century. This collection of early works from the extensive repertory of Lucinda Childs is specifically exciting both because of its rarity and due to its importance in the dance field. Most of these works have not been seen since they were shown in the 1970’s. In these dances Lucinda has left behind props, objects, the spoken word, symbolic movement, all hallmarks of the era of the Judson Dance theatre and chosen to focus on the passage of the body through space. To zero in on the essence of initial movement, which, for Childs, was the act of walking. From walking to running, to changing direction, to skipping, to leaping, illustrating the evolution of movement into dance through the choreographic vision of Lucinda Childs.
“I think it’s very musical for dancers to share a pulse,” she says. “They have to listen to each other. That’s what a musical ensemble does. They tune in to each other in a very precise way.” This is a rare entrance into a crucial period of transformation by one of the world’s most important choreographers and directors, who’s impact on both the world of the visual arts and influence on a generation of choreographers cannot be overstated. These works express a fragility and a humanity that is a perfect example of the value of experience, and ideally suited to a group of dancers that bring with them their own abundant histories and knowledge. In the act of stripping away all artifice and theatricality, the beauty and truth of wisdom is confronted, shared, and exposed.
In 1973 Lucinda Childs revisited Untitled Trio (1968/73), which she had presented in embryonic form in 1968 in a one-off showing at Judson Memorial Church. Childs resumed work on Untitled Trio in 1973, revising the choreography according to ideas she had been gestating about spatial schemes, in which the dancers remained in parallel or perpendicular relationship to each other. She devised a structure in which group unison was circumvented by a carefully calculated scheme of spatial and temporal modulations: “The dancers were continually grouped and regrouped in changing combinations of two in unison against one, moving further and further out in the space, and eventually proliferating the entire 40 foot x 40 foot area … Thus while the material was repetitive,” she continued, “the same thing was never seen twice; there was always a variation in the movement sequence itself, or its speed, or its
location in space, or finally, in the relationship (parallel or perpendicular) that one dancer had with the others.” The newly revised Untitled Trio was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art in December 1973.
Picture above: Untitled Trio, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1973. Dancers left to right are Janice Paul, Judy Padow, and Danny Tai. Photo © 1973 Babette Mangolte. Courtesy of the artist and Broadway 1602, New York.
Video excerpt > password: untitled_trio_(cut)
Videographer: Phill Niblock. Dancers Lucinda Childs, Sally Gross, Joseph Schliter.
Katema premiered at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in March 1978. Childs performed Katema on tour during the late 1970s, across the United States and in Europe. Originally performed as a solo, for this iteration the dance has been re-designed for the first time as a duet. Katema takes place entirely on the same diagonal pathway. A simple walking pattern interspersed with pivot turns, backwards walking, and inward and outward turns accumulates over the course of five sections. A full diagonal crossing occurs once in section four and twice in succession in section five.
“Katema is the changed spelling of the word Katama which comes from a Wampanoag tribe word meaning “crab-fishing place.” However it is also the name of a harbour in Edgartown where I spent my childhood summers since 1944. Every few hours, the tide changes direction. Instead of having one opening to the sea, it has two openings. Currents can be rising from two directions, or falling when the current is moving either direction”. Lucinda Childs
Video excerpt > password: katema_(cut)
Videographer: Renato Berta. Dancer: Lucinda Childs. Filmed at Kunsthaus Zurich. Video courtesy of Lucinda Childs.
CONGERIES ON EDGES FOR 20 OBLIQUES
Congeries on edges for 20 Obliques which premiered at the Y.M.C.A. Nyack, New York in 1975, is a dance for 5 dancers based on pathways through space. After the dancers have established an eight-count walking pattern (with half-time and double time variants), they begin to fill the phrase with more elaborate movement. At its fullest, it contains two different jumps, a spin in a squat, and a cartwheel; then it empties back
to walking. Not all the dancers execute the pattern so far together; you see one, now three, now two, now five spring into the air. Watching an individual, you see a phrase with a climax; watching the group, you see a pattern of unpredictable but steady pops and thrusts rise out of the texture of the walk.
Video excerpt > password: congeries_on_edges_(cut)
Videographer: Andy Mann. Dancers: Susan Brody, James Barth, Judy Padow, Nancy Fuller, David Woodberry. Filmed at Lucinda Childs Studio, New York, NY, March 4, 1975. Video courtesy of Lucinda Childs.
Radial Courses premiered in January 1976 at Washington Square Methodist Church in New York City. This dance is for four dancers spatially organised on four overlapping circles of the same size, which are equally distant from each other. There are three phrases, a walking phrase, and two skip hop phrases which are closely identical, however, in the second phrase there is an additional turn which throws the first phrase one beat out of sync with the second when they are
executed simultaneously. While the walking phrase takes the dancer one half of the way around his or her given circle, the two skip hop phrases take him 3/4 of the way around. Thus the dancers start out at the same point but continually arrive at different points on their circle according to what combination of phrases they do or whether or not they shift from left to right in doing them. The pace of the dance is determined by the fastest possible walk that can be maintained.
Picture above: Radial Courses, Festival International de la Danse, Théâtre Champs-Elysées, Paris, November 1977. Dancers left to right: Cynthia Hedstrom, Lucinda Childs, Andé Peck, and Judy Padow. Photo © 1973 Babette Mangolte. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1602, New York.
Video excerpt > password: radial_courses_(cut)
Videographer: Mark Robison. Dancers: Bruce Jones, Garry Reigenborn, Keith Sabado, Dusan Tynek. Filmed at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY October 13, 2000. Video courtesy of Lucinda Childs.
Melody Excerpt premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November 1977. Melody Excerpt is a dance for five. Performed in silence, three 10-count phrases are repeated in a systematized order, the pathways of which remain fixed throughout the dance. At no point in the dance is any pattern or combination repeated in exactly the same way, so that every 10-count section is unique. The pathways are intricately rehearsed and are adapted to the cast. The dancers are advised not to adjust for or to second-guess another’s pathway because this dance can only be performed straight through if each dancer maintains concentration and fidelity
to her individual trajectory. What may look at times like chaos is, in fact, precisely choreographed movement. The title Melody Excerpt refers to the 10-count phrasing of the work. Because phrases commonly occur in eight counts in western music, this 10-count phrasing leaves one musically “hanging.” Thus, the melody becomes “excerpted.”
Picture above: Melody Excerpt in performance at The Brooklyn Academy of Music, November, 1977. Pictured left to right: Andé Peck, Daniel McCusker, Judy Padow, Lucinda Childs, and Cynthia Hedstrom. Photo © Nathaniel Tileston (1978). Courtesy of Lucinda Childs.
Video excerpt > password: melody_excerpt_(cut)
Dancers: Lucinda Childs, Andé Peck, Judy Padow, Daniel McCusker, Cynthia Hedstrom. Filmed at Damrosch Park, New York, NY, 1977.