Foreword, translation and notes by Denise Luccioni
‘Grand prix de la critique 2002/2003 - Palmarès danse’ - best book on dance
In the 1960s and 1970s in New York, in parallel with a rising tide of social and political protest in the Western world, a few young dancers and choreographers drastically shifted away from modern dance and ballet. Students of Anna Halprin’s workshops in California and/or Robert Dunn’s workshops in Cunningham studio, they rejected virtuosity, theatre arts, inspiration, aesthetic and technical codes and conventional relationships between artists and the audience and between the arts. They completely renewed creative processes and approached composition using random processes, direct speech, hiring amateurs, structures and movements borrowed from daily life.
Sally Banes, professor at the University of Wisconsin and author of many works on dance, interviewed major figures of that dissident community in the 1970s: Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, Trisha Brown, David Gordon, Deborah Hay, Meredith Monk, Lucinda Childs, Kenneth King, Douglas Dunn – some of them having joined Grand Union improvisation group.
Beyond the fascinating description of a relatively recent period, this book traces the roots of practices sometimes revisited by French dance today, showing a tremendous creative freedom closely linked with the political dimension of art in general.
Finally available in French, Terpsichore in sneakers will be of interest to dancers, choreographers, teachers, specialists and amateurs of dance and art.