Steve Paxton
© Stephen Petergosky. Steve Paxton and Nancy Stark Smith (1980).

Culturgest is offering three workshops on and around Paxton’s technics and practices. One will be lead by Patricia Kuypers on Contact-Improvisation, Steve Paxton’s most famous technic, which centers on one’s relation to the other, bringing into play the physical contact points between two or more partners.

Another workshop will be held by Otto Ramstad on Material for the Spine, a technic developed by Steve in the past 30 years that explores movement possibilities within the muscles surrounding the spine, as well as the connections between the pelvis, head, scapula and vertebrae.  

João Fiadeiro and Romain Bigé will lead a shared workshop making the bridge between the two previous workshops; the different studies reflected in the exhibition Drafting Interiors Technics (pedestrian movement; anarchy; contact; gravity; silence; movement; solo; and relation); and their own researchers around real time composition and the relation between dance and philosophy.

June 03 – 07: Contact-Improvisation with Patricia Kuypers

June 10 – 14: Doing the thinking. Thinking the doing. with João Fiadeiro and Romain Bigé

June 17 – 21: Material for the Spine with Otto Ramstad

3–7 JUN 2019

10–14 JUN 2019

17–21 JUN 2019

Small Auditorium


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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