Philadelphia Dance Projects presents Considering Choreographer Yvonne Rainer, a mini-festival on October 15-19

Philadelphia Dance Projects presents Considering Choreographer Yvonne Rainer, a mini-festival on October 15-19 spotlighting the career and influence of postmodernist choreography Yvonne Rainer.

The Festival begins with a two-day workshop led by Pat Catterson on Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16 on Rainer’s seminal work Trio A.  The workshop, held from 1:00-5:00 PM will be at the Performance Garage (1515 Brandywine Street). Wednesday, October 19 at 6:00 PM features the Philadelphia premiere of the documentary film Feelings are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer by former Philadelphia filmmaker Jack Walsh, with a post-screening discussion with both Walsh and Rainer.  Following the film, at 8:00 PM, Yvonne Rainer will present a lecture, What’s So Funny? Laughter and Anger in the Time of the Assassins,” an amalgam of jokes and rants around the current emotional and political dilemmas of the artist and concerned citizen.  Both events on October 19 will be at Christ Church Neighborhood House (20 North American Street).

Admission to the two-day workshop is $35.  Tickets to the Film Screening and Lecture are $25 ($10 for the film only and $20 for the lecture only).  A special mini-fest package of the workshop, screening, and lecture is available for $50.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.philadanceprojects.org.

The two-day workshop examines Trio A‘s philosophical, physical and historical relevance.  Students will learn part of the dance, be given composition exercises and reading assignments and around its projects, and be led in a discussion of its ideas, contexts and their experiences.  This Workshop has been conducted at the CODA Festival in Oslo, the Kalamata International Festival in Greece, at the Danish National School of Contemporary Dance in Copenhagen as well as at schools in the USA including Sarah Lawrence College, NYU, the New School and Muhlenberg College.

“Fifty years later there is still much to be learned from Yvonne Rainer’s 1966 influential work Trio A,” said Pat Catterson, Rainer’s long-time rehearsal assistant.  “Trio A‘s form, vocabulary, and performing stance challenged traditional choreographical methods and modes of presentation.  This workshop provides an introduction to an aesthetic that has served as a springboard for succeeding generations of dance makers.”

Dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer is one of the most influential artistic figures of the last 50 years.  Her challenging and experimental work has had a profound impact across multiple disciplines and movements – dance, cinema, feminism, minimalism, conceptual art, and postmodernism.  Rainer first came to prominence as a leading figure in the Judson Dance Theater movement, a loose collection of dancers and artists whose performances crossed fluidly between the fields of dance and visual art, creating a striking and intellectualized form of performance that denied the theatricality and emotionalism of modern dance in favor of movements that seemed casual, spare and cool.  Her choreography is characterized by a combination of classical dance steps contrasted with everyday, ordinary, pedestrian movement, a strategy formulated to demystify dance and break away from historical clichés.

In the early 1970s, Rainer began to focus on producing experimental feature films.  Over the next 25 years she produced an extraordinary series of film that grappled with such as power, privilege and inequality.  Masterpieces of both feminist art and postmodernism, Rainer’s films freely blend fictional, autobiographical and documentary narratives into works that are theoretically advanced and intensely political.  In 2000, Rainer returned to choreography and created new works for Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Baryshnikov Dance Foundation and the White Oak Dance Project, and a reinterpretation of Agon by George Balanchine.  She continues to produce provocative and surprising new works to the present day.

In 1990 Rainer was awarded a MacArthur Fellows Program Award for her contributions to dance.  In 2015 she received the Foundation for Contemporary Arts’s Merce Cunningham Award.  She taught in the Whitney Independent Program from 1974 onward, and since 2005 has been professor emeritus at the University of California, Irvine.

Pat Catterson first worked with Rainer and performed Trio A in 1969, first taught the dance in 1971, and has assisted and danced for Rainer since her return to choreography in 1999, touring nationally and internationally. She has taught and performed Trio A countless times since and has found that learning it is the best way to understand the aesthetic shift it represented.  Most recently she set early Rainer works for Stephen Petronio Company’s Bloodlines Project and for the exhibit Yvonne Rainer: Dance Works at Raven Row Gallery in London and performed these and other works herself in Boris Charmatz’ Twenty dancers for the XX Century at the Tate Modern. Catterson is also a notable choreographer in her own right, having made 108 works. She has received numerous grants and commissions, including a 2011 Award from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and multiple Choreography Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the CAPS Grants and the Harkness Foundation, as well as a Fulbright Commission.  A dedicated educator, she has been on the faculties at Sarah Lawrence College, UCLA, the Juilliard School, and the Merce Cunningham Studio.

Jack Walsh films incite, probe, challenge and inform viewers on topics ranging from cultural icons to social justice to sexual identity. Working in both the experimental 4lm and documentary 4lm genres, over the course of his career Jack directed nine films, received worldwide screenings at film festivals as well as national broadcasts on public and cable television.  Among Walsh’s distinctions are the Documentary Jury Prize, Athens International Film and Video Festival, a National Emmy Award nomination; two Northern California Emmy Awards; three Golden Gate Awards, San Francisco International Film Festival; a Grand Prize, two Director’s Citations, and a Juror’s Citation at the Black Maria Film and Video Festival.  Walsh has taught at The City College of New York, California College of the Arts, San Francisco State University, and University of California, San Diego. He holds a B.A. from Temple University and an M.A. from San Francisco State University. Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer, his most recent film and his documentary directorial debut, premiered in the Documentary Panorama at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, 2015.

Philadelphia Dance Projects’ mission is to support contemporary dance through projects that encourage artists and audiences to more fully participate and engage in the experience and pursuit of dance as an evolving form.  Throughout it almost 20 year history PDP has presented workshops, performances, films, educational school residencies, teaching artists groups, and sponsored dance artists exchanges nationally and internationally.  Its current projects include The Local Dance History Project, an online archive of Philadelphia dance history in partnership with the Special Collections Research Center Temple University.

More information at www.philadanceprojects.org

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