Home » Goodbye to the dancer Steve Paxton

Goodbye to the dancer Steve Paxton

by admin
Goodbye to the dancer Steve Paxton

Listen to the audio version of the article

With Steve Paxton, who died on the night of February 21st at the age of 85, one of the last great exponents of postmodern dance, a varied and transversal artistic movement, which revolutionized the choreographic scene between the 60s and 70s of the last century, disappears American, distancing itself from the modern dance of Martha Graham, of whom many of the dancers of Paxton’s generation were also students.

In opposition to the psychologism and narrative vocation of modern dance, artists such as Merce Cunningham, Yvonne Rainer, David Gordon, Simone Forti, Trisha Brown, Anna Halprin and Paxton himself, freed dance from any modernist superstructure and pretentiousness, bringing it back to a sort of zero degree. The daily gesture, the happening, the study of the postural and physiological dynamics of the bodies, the dialogue between different disciplines and languages ​​were at the center of their experiments, experienced with the enthusiasm of research and sharing.

He was born in Phoenix in 1939

Paxton – born in Phoenix in 1939 – came to dance from gymnastics, and then assimilated the teachings of Cunningham and José Limon. At the beginning of the 1960s he participated in the short but intense season of the Judson Dance Theater, where artists of different backgrounds (musicians, dancers, directors, filmmakers, painters) dialogued with each other, experimenting with new performance methods, which rejected any idea of ​​spectacularity as an end in herself.

In the early 1970s, Paxton joined the collective The Grand Union, within which he explored the theory and practice of improvisation, laying the foundations of the discipline for which he would become famous throughout the world: Contact Improvisation. Starting from the basic laws of physics and human physiology, Paxton develops a method within everyone’s reach, which exploits energy, weight and the relationship between bodies, surfaces and space to create flows of movement. Anyone can try their hand at Contact Improvisation by bringing their own motor experiences, linked to body practices such as dance, martial arts, sport and recreational activities, or derived from daily gestures. Consistent with this research, the dancer is interested in any form of natural movement, including that of animals. Parallel to his pedagogical and laboratory activity, Paxton performs all over the world together with performers with whom he shares his research or in solos of extraordinary formal beauty, which starting from improvisation dialogue with space and music, for example Bach’s Goldberg Variations, best revealing his faith in the intelligence of the body.

See also  Eight different perspectives shape Li Dazhao's producer Guan Hu to experiment with unconventional narrative techniques in the film "Revolutionary"

The Biennale Danza, which in these hours remembers him with esteem and admiration, in 2014 awarded him the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. His method and his teachings have influenced countless dance experiences all over the world, testifying to the founding value of a practice and thought that are still exemplary today for the new generations.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy