What is my body doing when I am not conscious of it? (About practice)

Four lectures from Paxton
© Ray Chung. Steve Paxton, The Kitchen, 1994.

“Occasionally, I would remember walking and try to continue just as I was before I remembered to watch. I was spying on myself. Self-hacking.”

Steve Paxton defines his work as a dancer as the endeavor to learn what the body knows and bring it to awareness. The two dance practices he developed function as frames for this self-study: in Contact Improvisation, partners touch, roll, jump at each other, providing disequilibrium and disorientation as a place of study; in Material for the Spine, perfect forms and movement puzzles create impossible tasks.

During this period visitors will also have the chance to see the exhibition Drafting Interior Techniques.

Full program Four lectures from Paxton

06 JUN 2019
THU 18:30

Gallery
Free entry*
Duration 90 min

* Free entry, subject to availability and tickets available on the day from 6:00am at the ticket-office

In portuguese and english

CURATOR AND MODERATION

João Fiadeiro, Romain Bigé and Liliana Coutinho

WITH

Patrícia Kuypers

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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