PRINT December 2019

Stanley Love (1970–2019)

Stanley Love in his and Robert Melee’s kitchen, Lower East Side, New York, 1993. Photo: Robert Melee.

Greg and Sarah 900 :( Broken-Hearted on STANLEY



Move over Nijinsky and Martha.

Make space and move over Merce Cunningham.

Stanley Love needs space and time and a place in our landscape to be mourned—and celebrated.

Stanley Love is dead.

Hi Stanley!!!


Stanley Love is a fucking genius! Stanley Love will make you feel emotions down deep inside where emotions go. And then he’s going to make you feel them again. And again.

When you wake up this morning, there is going to be a song in your head and Stanley Love is going to choreograph some moves to that song and those moves are going to be the best moves to that song that you ever . . . “Hyperbolic Grandiosity” before your coffee or before whatever you do in the morning. Whatever privacy you take for yourself.

Stanley Love is dead.

Hi Stanley!

Stanley Love is a chime! He was . . . it was after the Bessies. The Bessies when it was Dance Theatre Workshop, not New York Los Angeles. The downtown dance community was slowly spilling out of the Joyce theatre. Two thirds in the lobby and the rest outside, under the marquee. It was still light out and nobody seemed in a rush to get out of there. I remember the light and I remember the crowd parting to let Stanley Love through. I remember the light because Stanley stepped into the middle of Eighth Avenue wearing a Kelly green wizard’s frock. It was a knit one piece that hung from his shoulders and hips and hooded his head with the precision of a bespoke tarot card. This wizard didn’t know from Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin but he had certainly read the full Tolkien. This wizard was clearly Stanley Love.

“Werk Miss Eighth Avenue !” . . . CLING! CLING!

“Werk Miss Sunset!” . . . CLING! CLING!

Stanley Love is dead!

Hi Stanley!

I was a mess when he was in that coffin but he wasn’t, he was steadfast . . . “girl hold it down, WERK!  WE ARE NOT AFRAID OF THIS!” As I limped to the toilet this morning, I pretended I heard Stanley cackle in my ear.  Oh NO! This is definitely the apocalypse! Our powerful, wizard-frocked and most beautiful icon/choreographer has died! And we listen for sonar glimpses, we feel in the dark for bumps and interruptions . . . A dance prophet orchestrating the state that de-armed and every time, every single time, surprised you, even when you knew what was coming. It is for this he laboured. It is this for which he hoped. It is for this he maintained a dancing orphanage. Tempo, rhythm, waiting. Patience ameliorates the waiting. Stanley wasn’t having that.


Stanley Love is dead!

Hi Stanley!

Cling! Cling!

Stanley Love—like all of us—held demons, but he held them for this reason—he held them very well because he also held more light than one can actually hold. Actually

the very light itself———— more light than one can be


and so he straddled. Straddled the wall of—prophet and naive—economy and hyperbole—ancient dancing and dancing futurism—turn in and turn out—dry and wet—he straddled sobriety in all of its forms. He was the soberest of judges, he was the drunkest of teachers. He may well have taught Jerome Belll everything he thinks he knows . . . (cling! cling!). And in all his states he was beautiful. And this was true from the beginning. And to the end, the dance . . .

Stanley Love in his and Robert Melee’s kitchen, Lower East Side, New York, 1993. Photo: Robert Melee.

Stanley revered the Dancer, perhaps more than even Martha or any of the countless, herstorical reverees. It is an ancient and universal habit to dance about confusion and pain. The dance is a warrior’s profession; one enters the space to destroy the worlds of evil hiding in the spirit realm. This powerful magic has been hoarded and honed by ruling classes in every culture throughout history. The Leader/Choreographer takes any old ‘Lordy’ myth and superimposes it on their ‘secular’ biography. Dancers dance some sacred steps and the L/C suddenly becomes supernatural. Stanley understood the temporal magic that is released by executing steps and phrases, is the sole dominion of the Dancer. 

I don’t know if any of you guys are dancers but let me tell you, it’s pretty fuck’n great. I would say it’s the closest a human can get to the nonchalant virtuosity of most, if not all of the non-human vertebrates, and like, at least half of the invertebrates. It is better than sports.

Sports is just cashed-up walking. “Dancing” is ineffable because it is the thing you automatically forget to do with your body, everyday.

People are trained dancers when they first meet Stanley.

Think of your pelvis as a “forget me not.”

It swings AND rocks!

Forget your pelvis!

Just think of the places your pelvis forgot to go!

Just stop!

Your pelvis is not your destiny!

Your pelvis is your destiny but I have better ideas!

It kind of goes like this!


I’m waiting sweetie.



Release WHAT!?

Oh Girl!

You wear me out!

Your pelvis is not the problem.

But it is the magic . . .


Stanley would teach every dance in the same way for anyone who showed up. He was fastidious with his instructions, everything applied to everybody. He definitely put you through your paces, but it was easy, breezy, and off balance in the park. The positive rate of change was always pretty high, no matter where you were starting from because Stanley knew what he was doing. He had a saddle for any style of ride. Disco dancing or Martha Graham dancing, no matter what, he had them all. And no matter what, he always chose to stack them on the same horse. These saddled dances. The wayward accuracy of the canned, emphatic discographies and the lyrical intentions realized through the dancing to, and the playing of, said tracts, effectively rendered all subjectivity perfect. The combined force of this arsenal aspired toward the unilateral disarmament of taste, in one night! At the end of the night, it was as if we all did it. Danced it. I saw that work many times! Many, many times, and I admit that I tried to resist him. I told myself, “I know what this is. I know what’s happening. Its fun. It’s charming. It’s Stanley” . . . I tried to go Rainer with my mind. But fuck me.

The work won

The drive of the prophet for a shared space won. The pulsing love of dance and his own lanky demanding brilliance overtly orchestrating the argument of the fourth wall.

Arms folded with hard-core sass, throwing his torso over a through line, back and forth, his sides flatten and bend and spin around an imagined true line. His hair following the arch angle of Shasta’s cuts. . . . Lauri Hogan dance after dance after dance recording every single movement and moment for ever.

And Chris Bergmann


And Arnie Apostol


Stanley Love in his and Robert Melee’s kitchen, Lower East Side, New York, 1993. Photo: Robert Melee.

And Becky Hermos


And Arnie
And Chris


And Phyllis Grant
And Gerald Casel
And Alan Eto
And Trevor Carlson
And the many 

Start the track over sound person.
He is in the theatre,

Standing on the side of a hill, in the rain.
Of course it’s raining.
Ede told us to come out and watch Stanley go up, out of the chimneys. Ede told us to watch Stanley go up in smoke.

Shasta’s scissor drama
his unfinished ends 
Start the track over sound person.

A garbage truck drives by and Sarah goes hypothetical and says,
“What if that is what I asked for for my funeral, in that truck, all smashed up?”

Greg plays to type and says,
“What if that’s what you’re getting no matter what you ask for?”

His knowing lookout to the tech booth
In control
Of the abyss

A precise puff of black smoke leaves the chimney

Start the track over.

Like when they can’t decide on a Pope

Start the track over.

Like a signal

We can always start over.

Looking at the bottom of Manhattan

We have to go back.

In the rain, in Greenwood Cemetery

Start the dance over.

In New York where  legends come and go

Start over with
The Fearless interior glamour and
Beauty everywhere

Start the track over sound person.


You can’t touch that
But it’s happening