Sage Cowles: A Dance Activist’s Life
Sage Cowles had a “real social vision,” says choreographer Bill T. Jones. “Sage and [husband] John were interested in Change with a capital C, which earned her high marks in my way of thinking.” A philanthropist, mother, political activist, and—perhaps most importantly—a dancer, Cowles passed away November 21, 2013, at age 88. Camille LeFevre recounts a life dedicated to dance, family, and community.
Further into Where You Are
Behavioral artist Marcus Young likens conceptual choreographer Jérôme Bel’s work to guided meditation. “Everything that is unnecessary is pared away. You are never swept away by outward virtuosity or passion. Instead, you must provide the unswerving gaze, calm mind, and open heart. You should go willingly, and if you do you are transported, not away, but further into where you are, your own humanity.”
Opening the Road Box
In the two years since the Walker acquired the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s complete archive of sets, costumes, and performance objects, Cunningham Research Fellow Abigail Sebaly has been busy. She’s catalogued 3,443 costume pieces, helped with three research exhibitions, conducted some 40 interviews with Cunningham collaborators, and visited archives across the globe. Here she shares some of her finds.
Trisha Brown: From Falling and Its Opposite, and All the In-Betweens
Philip Bither highlights some of Trisha Brown’s less-recognized but tremendously influential dance innovations, from aerial movement inventions to equipment-based performance.
Deborah Hay: The Outlier as Insider
Michèle Steinwald, as told to Julie Caniglia
A founding member of the Judson Dance Theater, Deborah Hay went from postmodern dance in Greenwich Village in the 1960s to living virtually off the grid in the 1970s, developing a pioneering practice that transforms the relationship between choreographer and dancer. Once an outlier, Hay is now a quiet but powerful force in dance—a “choreographer’s choreographer” whose work matters to the rest of us.
“Only the Sky Will Stop Me”: African Women Changing Contemporary Dance
Where do we begin the conversation about the extraordinary contemporary dance movement afoot in Africa and some of its stellar young leaders? Will entrenched biases distort even fresh discussions about the continent? Dr. Joan Frosch looks at the work of choreographers Kettly Noël, Nelisiwe Xaba, and Mamela Nyamza.
Dance, Senses, and Distrust of the Body
Miguel Gutierrez as told to Michèle Steinwald
Distrust of the body, says firebrand dancemaker Miguel Gutierrez, is part of the reason why dance is sometimes perceived as a second-class art form: “There’s an idea that to go into an exploration of the body is this indulgent, non-rational thing.” In a recent conversation, he discusses dance, the senses, the mind/body split, and his new performance, And lose the name of action.
The Trace: Searching for the Imprint Movement Leaves Behind
As we consider new ways of looking at performance objects in a museum setting, we can’t ignore the ways physical movement has shaped them. The Walker’s acquisition of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s collection of costumes and decors has researcher Abigail Sebaly asking, “How do the various rubs, pills, and scuffs indicate an imprint of the movements that were performed in them?”
Performing Through Crisis: Patrick Scully on Art and AIDS in the 1980s
Patrick Scully as told to Paul Schmelzer
Turning 27 in 1980, Patrick Scully left the dance collective he called home to work independently and “explore what being gay meant to me as an artist.” A decade that began with optimism yielded surprises as political conservatism, the destruction of his downtown block, and AIDS rocked his world. For our continuing series reflecting on the Twin Cities in the 1980s, Scully shares his memories.