This is a past event.
In the framework of the Steve Paxton programme, Culturgest presents three historical works by Steve Paxton, revisited by the Slovene choreographer and dancer Jurij Konjar.
The first two pieces belong to the early years of the mythical Judson Dance Theater and focus on one of the main questions launched by the collective: what is dance? In his short solo, Flat (1964), Steve Paxton explores simple actions like walking, sitting, assuming poses or focusing attention. Satisfyin Lover (1967) continues this exploration by inviting 42 randomly selected persons to walk across the stage, according to a set of simple guidelines.
The Goldberg Variations stem from a later period, 1986, when Steve Paxton had already developed his famous Contact Improvisation. In this improvised work, Paxton incorporates a number of the main concerns of post-Cunningham dance, in a moving dialogue with the homonym Bach composition, interpreted by Glen Gould. In the performance we present, Jurij Konjar revisits the original work, based on his observations of video recordings and a prolonged daily practice, part of which accompanied by Steve Paxton and Lisa Nelson. In tune with Paxton’s legacy, the work is recreated at every single presentation, as an encounter between the performer, the music and the audience.
FROM Steve Paxton
INTERPRETATION Jurij Konjar
Satisfyin Lover (1967)
FROM Steve Paxton
COORDINATION Jurij Konjar
Goldberg Variations (1986/2010)
FROM Jurij Konjar
BASED ON THE WORK BY Steve Paxton
LIGHT Robrecht Ghesquiere
MUSIC Goldberg Variations (Johann Sebastian Bach), interpretado por Glen Gould (1981)
THANKS TO Steve Paxton e Lisa Nelson
PRODUCTION Jurij Konjar
COPRODUCTION Tanzquartier Wien
SUPPORT Slovenia Ministry of Culture
About Steve Paxton cycle
American choreographer, dancer and improviser Steve Paxton, born in 1939, has been continuously shaping the face of dance over the last six decades. Having started his career in the 1950s, Paxton danced with José Limon and Merce Cunningham. He was 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 founding 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. Throughout his life, Paxton has been writing extensively about movement (he has produced more than 100 articles since 1970) and working tirelessly on performing improvised and choreographed works all over the world.
His work has influenced many choreographers and dancers, who have inherited the obsessions that characterize his work: 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 Theatre’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, shared their concerns about the relationship between art and everyday life.
Based on this perspective, Culturgest presents the Steve Paxton cycle, which has as its main axis an exhibition curated by João Fiadeiro and Romain Bigé and an evening of performances from the 1960's to present day. 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 three 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.
Relation with dance schools
In the frame of the Steve Paxton exhibition, Culturgest approached some dance schools and research centers in Lisbon in order to make sure that the body of work of one of the most influential thinkers-makers from dance history would not go unnoticed. This collaboration will start with a series of lecture-demonstrations that Romain Bigé and João Fiadeiro, curators of the exhibition, will give on Steve Paxton’s legacy in each of the associated schools/centers. Then it unfolds with an intensive and continuous presence of students and researchers in the exhibition space (with a free pass) so they can deepen their individual research on Paxton’s work. Finally, we have encouraged the schools/centers to temporary dislocate some of their classes and initiatives into the space of the exhibition so the space will be “occupied” by practitioners and art researchers.