PRINT September 2018

Deborah Hay

WHEN CHOREOGRAPHER and teacher Robert Dunn proposed an assignment to the dancers who became the Judson Dance Theater (of which I was one)—and because all I knew at the time was how to be a good student—I dutifully completed it, whereas I never understood how Yvonne Rainer’s or Steve Paxton’s responses had anything at all to do with Dunn’s assignment. They were more interested in breaking or challenging instructions and direction, and perhaps, more importantly, they were exploring their own aesthetics. I did not know aesthetics from a hole in the head.

Yvonne’s dances were very different from one another, yet colored by a distinctly playful authority. I especially remember Three Seascapes (1962) because of its shock value, and We Shall Run (1963) because of its Olympian opening: many people running en masse to an operatic music score . . . maybe something by Berlioz?

I was mostly

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