Joyce Theater

"Lucinda is one of the few remaining original voices from the generation that established modern dance in America.” –Liz Gerring

Photo by Lucie Jansch

By Laura Diffenderfer

We will soon be welcoming Lucinda Childs Dance Company to The Joyce stage, November 29 - December 11. Widely revered as one of the most important figures in post-modern dance, Childs began her career as a member of Judson Dance Theater, the boundary-pushing collective of dancers, visual artists, and composers active in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. She went on to collaborate with several well-known figures in American culture, including composer Philip Glass, director Robert Wilson, visual artist Sol LeWitt and architect Frank Gehry, among others. She has made more than 50 works for her own company, and has choreographed numerous operas, including the Obie Award-winning Einstein on the Beach, created with Glass and Wilson.

With this two-week engagement, The Joyce will offer the most comprehensive view of Childs’ work for U.S. audiences to date. Playing the first week, Lucinda Childs: A Portrait (1963-2016) is a retrospective of the artist’s career which includes several rarely seen early works, and the New York premiere of Into View, co-commissioned by The Joyce and the University of California in Los Angeles, where this program was recently received with great excitement.

The second week features Childs’ 1979 full-evening masterwork, DANCE, a collaboration between three influential figures in minimalism within their respective fields: Childs, LeWitt, and Glass. The Guardian called the piece “one of the blindingly seminal collaborations of its era.” The work, both unyielding and restrained, was an important marker in each of the collaborators’ repertoires. “We were minimalists, or rather we were essentialists. We got to the essence of the work,” said Glass.

Although her works cover a large terrain, Childs, like LeWitt and Glass, is foremost engaged in that thrilling moment when repetition and structure attain a formal, meditative beauty. To attain such pristine structure, many artists of the 1960s used visual instructions called scores for a performance work. 

Score from from Interior View (1977), which will be performed the first week of the engagement.

Childs’ influence on future generations of dancemakers can’t be understated. “Lucinda builds unrelenting structural monuments that burn themselves into your mind,” says Stephen Petronio, who will be back at The Joyce this spring. “She creates an unforgettable architectural world of pure motion. That impact of pure form is one the dance world hadn't experienced before.”

Pam Tanowitz, shares an interest in pure form, most recently with her spellbinding Sequenzas in Quadrilles,” performed at The Joyce earlier this year. “When I think of Lucinda, I think of her toughness, her clear vision, her structure, and her rhythm,” says Tanowitz. “Her early work, performed at Judson Church, was an inspiration to me; in fact, I created a solo as an homage to her in graduate school,” says Tanowitz.

“Lucinda wrote the book on repetition, which is something that intrigues me both physically and compositionally,” says Liz Gerring, who presented her stark and beautiful Glacier here in 2015. “Her adherence to discipline of form has been unequaled in any other choreographer. Lucinda is one of the few remaining original voices from the generation that established modern dance in America.”

Don’t miss your chance to see this singular artist’s work at The Joyce.

© Copyright 2016 The Joyce Theater Foundation and Laura Diffenderfer