Deborah Jowitt

  • Deborah Jowitt

    JILL JOHNSTON was one of my most influential teachers, but I never told her that. In 1959, she began to write a radical, erudite, slangy column called Dance Journal for the Village Voice, four years after it was founded by Ed Fancher, Dan Wolf, and Norman Mailer. She embarked on a career as a critic at a time when, in her words, “the entire art world was entering a convulsion of dissolving boundaries.” Happenings and other interdisciplinary events erupted onto the scene. The zeitgeist of the 1960s was one of rebellion. The question that permeated the air was, “Why not?” When exuberant and fearless

  • passages December 30, 2015

    Sally Gross (1933–2015)

    I DIDN’T KNOW SALLY GROSS SOON ENOUGH. We were both born during the Depression, but she grew up in New York and I was a Los Angeles tomboy. She played games in Lower East Side Streets; I climbed challenging trees. In the 1960s, we were in New York—dancing, teaching, and learning to choreograph—but our careers moved on parallel tracks. She had studied with Alwin Nikolais, who focused on imaginative designs with space and human beings, while I had been working with teachers and choreographers more involved with emotion and narrative. When Gross was performing at Judson Church in Yvonne Rainer’s