Collaboration, Movement, Projection: The Interdisciplinary Structure of Lucinda Childs's Dance, 1979
Goldstein, Jennifer Hasher
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In 1979, postmodern choreographer Lucinda Childs, minimalist artist Sol LeWitt, and minimalist composer Philip Glass combined their disparate mediums to create a collaborative, multimedia performance work titled, simply, Dance. To date, this interdisciplinary work featuring a unique combination of movement, sound, and film has received virtually no scholarly attention. Childs's recent 2009 reconstruction of Dance provides a timely opportunity for a close examination of its component parts, one that reveals several key aspects that initially gained prominence among the 1960s practitioners of interdisciplinary art—particularly the visual artists, dancers, choreographers and musicians associated with the Judson Dance Theater—and continued to resonate in the outpouring of multimedia installation and performance-based work in the 1970s. These themes include collaboration, non-traditional forms of movement, the grid, and the screen, elements with clear ties to experimentation in postmodern dance, to Minimalism in both art and musical composition, as well as to uses of the moving image outside of strictly cinematic spaces. The currently touring version of Dance, however, is not simply a historical reenactment. While Childs's reconfiguration reveals that the factors that she, Glass and LeWitt, explored in 1979 share clear similarities with specific precedents, the re-staging also gestures towards the continued relevance of these major themes. A sustained exploration of the work's individual elements will in fact reveal the hybrid form of this collaborative effort, one that is at once a historical performative object, and a contemporary work of art.