FOUR CHOREOGRAPHERS FEATURE
Name: Lucinda Childs
Born: 26 June I940. New York City. USA. Who is she? Childs was one of the original members of Judson Dance Theatre — the spearhead movement that led to the term ‘Post-Modern Dance’.
What did she do? What everyone at Judson did in the 60s — threw off the shackles of all that had gone before. Dance was liberated from the constraints of the Judson enemy No l — technique. The new ideal was to move with the freedom and spontaneity of ‘the man on the street‘ — ‘free improvisation‘ was born.
Free dance. like free love. could not last forever and by the mid 70s the children of Judson had begun to grow up. Childs — along with many of her colleagues — developed her own splinter-style off the Judson block. Her sleek. sophisticated. minimalist technique was to become the acceptable face of post-modern dance.
Where is she now? Still one of the world‘s leading figures in post- modern dance and travelling the world with the Lucinda Childs Dance Company.
Rocky road to tame? The Judson years were more like infamy — but pretty damn smooth all the same. Childs was asked to join the Judson group when she was only just out of dance school and soon became an integral part of the movement. She choreographed and performed as long as Judson fever was at its height. then formed the Lucinda Childs Dance Company in 1974.
Sidelines: Much to everyone‘s surprise Childs has now made work for several major ballet companies: Premier ()rage for Paris Opera Ballet (1984) marked her first use of point shoes.
Stars in her eyes? No. But she once appeared in a play with Robert Wilson called I Was Sitting ()n M)‘ Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was I‘lalha'lnating.
Edinburgh look out tor . . . Classic Childs split across two programmes. Programme One features Impromptu. set to the music of Andrej Kurylewicz. and the acclaimed multi-media Dance with music by Philip Glass. and film by visual artist Sol LeWitt. Programme Two includes the dramatic Rhythm Plus with music by Li geti and Ferrari; One and One set to Xenakis. and C‘oneerto which Childs herself describes as the culmination of her works. You know it’s Childs when: The dancers are wearing sneakers; you can’t take your eyes off their sneakers because it’s all happening in the feet; you can’t see the sneakers because the footwork’s too fast; people walk across the stage like they’re walking along the street —— and it looks good.
What the papers say: ‘Lucinda Childs. beautiful as a Russian Birch under the snow. enigmatic as a sphinx.’ (Le Monde) Footnotes: Dance writer Sally Banes once wrote a book about the Judson Posse called Terpsiehore in Sneakers — which says it Lucinda Childs: sleek sophisticated minimalism all.
Miami city Ballet (Festival) Playhouse Theatre (Venue 59)
Merce Cunningham Dance Company (Festival) Playhouse Theatre (Venue 59) 225 5756, 27-28 Aug, 7.30pm; 28 Aug, 2.30pm, £5—£18.5o.
225 5756, 15-20 Aug, 7.30pm; 20 Aug, 2.30pm, 25-229.
Mark Morris Dancers reach tor the stars in the plenty big work ‘L’Allegro‘
Name: Mark Morris
Born: 29 August 1956. Seattle, Washington. USA.
Who is he? The boy wonder of contemporary dance.
Why’s that then? Morris's blend of good old fashioned form. musicality and showmanship mixed with a relaxed range of styles and themes. and a laid-back sense of humour has brought the big-time back to contemporary dance.
Where is he now? Still the boy wonder at 38 years old.
Rocky road to tame? Not half. Danced with a semi-professional Balkan Dance Troupe in his teens; toyed with the idea of becoming a professional flamenco dancer. Got in with avant-garde types Twyla Tharp and Laura Dean in his twenties and set up the Mark Morris Group in 1980. The company reached international standing around the mid 80s after make or break New Yorker critic Arlene Croce gave them the big critic’s thumbs-up. He currently has a huge American and international following and is fast becoming an annual crowd puller at the Edinburgh Festival.
Sidelines: Outrageous. camp 70s film musicals. Well one at least — anyone remember Hair?
Stars in his eyes? Just an ordinary bloke who (apparently) likes nothing better than a pint and a fag.
Edinburgh look out for . . . Morris’s third visit to the Festival and his plenty big work L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (set to Handel’s chamber work of the same name). which features 24 dancers. full chamber orchestra, five solo singers and a chorus. And as if that wasn’t enough — the company are taking part in an innovative new Festival outreach scheme teaching masterclasses to kids and adults throughout Lothian Region.
You know it’s Morris when: There are big lights; big music; big dancing; big smiley faces and big standing ovations.
What the papers say: ‘L’Allegro is a masterwork on a scale hardly known in the US outside classical ballet.’ Wall Street Journal. Footnotes: Book early to avoid disappointment.
lucinda Childs Dance Company (Festival) Playhouse Theatre (Venue 59) 225 5756, 23-25 Aug, 7.30pm, £5~£18.50.
Mark Morris Group (Festival) Edinburgh Festival Theatre (Venue 79) 225 5756, 20-22 Aug, 7.30pm; 22 Aug, 2.30pm, £5—£20.
The List l2—l8 August l99413