Deborah Jowitt

  • Night of 100 Solos: A Centenary Event. Performance view, Brooklyn Academy of Music,  April 16, 2019. Photo: Stephanie Berger.
    performance April 26, 2019

    Night of 100 Solos: New York

    ON APRIL 16, ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, MERCE CUNNINGHAM WAS BORN. On April 15, 2019, I was sitting in the balcony of the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House among the hundred or so people watching the final run-through of the “Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event.” Can I say that I assisted at the memorial’s birth? Probably not.

    The program took even more risks than the patchworked material that his company used to perform worldwide as Events. Each of the seventy-five dancers celebrating his birthday (twenty-five in New York, and the same number in London and in Los Angeles) learned short passages culled

  • 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

  • Left: Sally Gross, Not Everything Is Seen, 2014. Performance view, Henry Street Settlement, New York, March 2014. Sally Gross. Right: Sally Gross, Two, 2011. Performance view, Henry Street Settlement, New York, March 2014. Tanja Meding and Jamie Di Mare. Photos: Karen Robbins.
    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