Drafting Interior Techniques

Steve Paxton
© Stephen Petegorsky. Steve Paxton at Joy of Movement Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, january 1978.

CURATORS Romain Bigé and João Fiadeiro

American dancer, choreographer and improviser Steve Paxton (b. 1938) has continuously been shaping the face of dance for more than six decades. Starting his dance career in the 1950s, he danced with José Limon and the Cunningham company, contributed to found the Judson Dance Theater and post-modern dance, invented two dance techniques (Contact Improvisation and Material for the Spine), while writing extensively about movement (more than a hundred articles since 1970) and relentlessly performing improvisation around the world.

Drafting Interior Techniques is the first retrospective look taken at his work and legacy. It is built around one of Steve’s obsessive questions: what is my body doing when I am not conscious of it? This question is a mantra through the exhibition, which offers the visitors to wander into the dancer’s workshop, not only to see dance, but to look at movement with the eyes of a dancer.

9 MAR
– 14 JUL 2019

Gallery
4€
Free entry on sundays

LUNCH GUIDED TOUR

3 APR 12:00
8 MAY and 5 JUN 1pm
WITH Ana Gonçalves

SATURDAY GUIDED TOUR

9 MAR 17:00
WITH João Fiadeiro and Romain Bigé
27 APR, 18 MAY, 13 JUL, 5pm
WITH Ana Gonçalves

GUIDED TOURS

Guided tour in portuguese Information and reservations
Tel. +351 21 761 90 78
culturgest.participar@cgd.pt

About Steve Paxton cycle

The American choreographer, dancer and improviser, Steve Paxton, born in 1939, has shaped the image of dance over the last six decades. Having started his career in the 1950s, Paxton danced with José Limon and Merce Cunningham, as well as being one of the founders of the Judson Dance Theatre, the source of various collective creations that have laid the roots of postmodern dance. He was also a founder member of the New York-based improvisation collective Grand Union. He is the inventor of two techniques – Contact Improvisation and Material for the Spine – and has worked together with several visual artists (such as Robert Rauschenberg), also leaving his distinctive mark on the art world. All of this took place while he was writing extensively about movement (he has produced more than 100 articles since 1970) and working tirelessly on improvised dance shows all over the world.

His work has influenced many choreographers and dancers, often to the extent that the origin of some of his researches has tended to become lost: the analysis and integration of everyday movements (such as walking), the importance of touch, weight and balance, and an openness to the non-technical body.

In Portugal, Steve Paxton and the Judson Dance Theater’s way of thinking had a decisive influence on many of those taking part in the movement that has come to be known as the New Portuguese Dance, and, in various ways, sharing their concerns about the relationship between art and everyday life. In the first few years of the new century, their work was presented in Lisbon on several occasions, and, in 2011, in an initiative promoted by CEM (centro em movimento), Steve Paxton presented the talk/demonstration Material for the Spine at Culturgest.

Based on this perspective, Culturgest presents the Steve Paxton cycle, which includes an exhibition curated by João Fiadeiro and Romain Bigé and the staging of some historical dance performances. But the Paxton programme doesn’t end here. The transverse nature of his work is further expressed in a series of five talks (the first of them given by Paxton himself) and two workshops about Contact Improvisation and Material for the Spine, with the involvement of schools and the transformation of the exhibition space into a performative arena.

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