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July 20, 2009
|Instructional Method:||Classroom Discussion, Gallery Discussion, Interdisciplinary, Project-based Learning, Research Project, Small Group Instruction, Thematic Approach|
|Added to Site:||July 20, 2009|
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The Judson Dance Theater artists are of foundational importance to the Performing Arts Program of the Walker Art Center--chronologically and philosophically. Given their unstoppable drive to create something new, their irreverent joy in upending the rules, and their profound and influential redefinition of the art form of dance, they are seminal artists of their time and of our time as well. While the Judson Dance Theater (1962-1967) never actually performed at the Walker (despite active correspondence and interest), the primary artists of the collective and the innovations they helped spawn have been actively supported by the Walker for more than 30 years. In fact, the Walker's first director of performing arts, Suzanne Weil, invited Grand Union, a collective that grew directly out of Judson and included many of the same members, for an extensive residency to help open the new Walker building in 1971. This and later Grand Union residencies both empowered the artists and radically impacted the Twin Cities dance and performance communities. Walker Art Center/Judson Dance Theater Chronology 1962 The Judson Dance Theater The postmodern era of modern dance is commonly marked by the formation of the Judson Dance Theater in what was originally the Judson Memorial Church in New York City. In this small community space, visual artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, theater directors, and choreographers came together as a group of individuals committed to "democratizing" theatrical dance. On July 6, 1962, the theater company gave its first performance, Concert of Dance #1, at the Judson Church. For the next 20 years, the Judson Dance Theater's influence would dominate postmodern dance. Although the group's many members had diverse goals, they nevertheless shared some common ideas. They rejected the dramatic narratives of traditional dance and instead emphasized physicality over style. Seeking to rid dance of all that was superfluous, they rejected mastery of technique, sometimes using untrained performers who would simply walk or run in complex patterns. Taking gestures from everyday life, they sought to remove the barriers of what could be considered dance and non-dance. The Grand Union A landmark dance/theater collective devoted to expanding the definitions of improvisation. Formed after the Judson Dance Theater disbanded. 1965-1966 Steve Paxton and Jill Johnston with the Judson Dance Theater begin correspondence with Walker Art Center Performing Arts Coordinator John Ludwig. Paxton visits in 1966. 1967 The Judson Dance Theater in residence scheduled, but canceled due to illness of Johnston and Rainer. The Judson Dance Theater breaks up (1962-1967). 1968 John Ludwig leaves the Walker Art Center; Sue Weil becomes Coordinator of Performing Arts. 1969 Merce Cunningham and dancers in residence. The Walker Art Center building torn down in March 1969. Performances held at the Guthrie Theater and other venues in the Twin Cities. 1971 The new Walker Art Center, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, opens on May 15. The Grand Union in residence. First residency in the new Walker building. 1973 Valda Setterfield, David Gordon, Sara Rudner, Douglas Dunn in residence. 1974 Robert Whitman performs Music, presented as part of the exhibition Projected Images. Trisha Brown in residence. 1975 Yvonne Rainer in residence. Performance with John Erdman in multimedia theater work Kristina, and as part of Visiting Filmmakers series with Babette Mangolte's Film about a Woman Who (1974). The Grand Union in residence. David Gordon and Valda Setterfield perform seminal works Chair and One Act Play in conjunction with the exhibition Herman Miller. 1976 Sue Weil leaves the Walker Art Center; Nigel Reddin becomes Performing Arts Director. Trisha Brown in residence. 1977 Lucinda Childs and Robert Wilson perform I Was Sitting on My Patio This Man Came up I Thought I Was Hallucinating. 1978 Lucinda Childs premieres Collaboration with Philip Glass. 1979 Trisha Brown lecture/demonstration at Coffman Union and premiere of Glacial Decoy. Yvonne Rainer presents her work-in-progress Journeys from Berlin/1971 as part of the series' Filmmakers' Filming and Meanings of Modernism. 1980 David Gordon in residence. Steve Paxton and Jeff Slayton performance with Viola Farber canceled. 1981 New Dance USA, the largest dance festival of its kind ever produced in the United States from October 3-11. Catalogue published as part of Meanings of Modernism series includes essays by Sally Banes ("Icon and Image in New Dance"), Jill Johnston ("Judson: The Sixties"), and Allen Robertson ("The Postmodern Movement"). Choreographers include Trisha Brown, Deborah Hay, David Gordon, and Lucinda Childs. 1982 Nigel Reddin leaves the Walker to become NEA Dance Director; Robert Stearns becomes new Performing Arts Director. Trisha Brown Dance Company in residence. Performance at University of Minnesota-Duluth cosponsored by Benedicta Arts Center, St. Cloud State University. 1983 David Gordon in residence. 1984 Pauline Oliveros and Deborah Hay perform The Well. Trisha Brown Dance Company; various works. 1985 Trisha Brown in residence. World premiere of Lateral Pass by Trisha Brown and Nancy Graves. 1987 David Gordon with the Pick-Up Company premieres Walker-commissioned United States. 1988 Robert Sterns leaves the Walker; John Killacky becomes Performing Arts Director. Lucinda Childs Dance Company; various works. 1990 Robert Whitman performs Black Dirt. 1991 Trisha Brown 20th-anniversary retrospective, part of the Discover Series. 1996 John Killacky leaves the Walker; Philip Bither becomes Performing Arts Curator. 1998 Chris Aiken and Steve Paxton in residence; performance of Walker-commissioned work. 2002 Trisha Brown Dance Company with Dave Douglas performs The Trilogy, part of the Discover Series, on February 9.
Walker Art Center/Judson Dance Theater Chronology
Judson Dance Theater
Choreographer-dancer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's childhood was steeped in African-American popular culture, both its sacred and secular aspects. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, she moved to New York City in 1980 to study dance with Dianne McIntyre at Sounds in Motion. Zollar founded the Urban Bush Women ensemble in 1984. The group's performances explore cross-cultural diversity through contemporary dance and interdisciplinary forms. The company presents dance/theater works rooted in the folklore and religious traditions of the African diaspora. Through live music, spoken word, a cappella vocalizations based on field hollers and chants, and the force and spirit of movement, the company delves into the struggles, growth, and transformation of the human spirit. Praise House (1990), an evening-length performance in two acts, is one of 19 works Zollar has created for Urban Bush Women. It was inspired by many visionary artists, but particularly by the life, words, drawings, and paintings of Minnie Evans. Zollar often collaborates with artists from other disciplines. Praise House was developed with co-choreographer Pat Hati-Smith, composer Carl Riley, writer Angelyn DeBord, and visual artist Leni Schwendinger. Presented here are video clips from two main sections of the performance at Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1991
Museum: Background Information
Walker Art Center
Dance of the Bubbles
Trisha Brown: Talking Art and Dance