An Imaginary Education in the History of Written Dances

George Balanchine would type in black and white. The words would be classical with modern, jazzy moments, all laid out in a symmetrical fashion. The letters would be very thin.



Martha Graham’s written dance would be filled with, ahem, contractions.

Let’s look up, sob.
Don’t!
Won’t!
Can’t!
She’ll fall.
She’ll roll.
She’ll strike a leg o’er the air.

Merce Cunningham’s written dance would be a wide open field of words, nothing more important than others. The words would be picked by chance and new words would be made by combining independent letters. It would be virtuosic, which I have yet to figure out, and it might look a bit like John Cage’s writing.

Yvonne Rainer, during the time of Trio A, might have made a written dance with no involvement of the writer and reader, no capitalization, no punctuation.

step off the curb move jump um turn stand on one leg spin stand on one leg sit move use a yeah word don’t look do look um breathe stand right arm um forward flow stop begin stand turn one leg to side one arm to side or use the

Steve Paxton:



And Pina Bausch might have included writing in this new spectacle made in a foreign country. I give you the press release.

For Immediate Release:
March 21, noon.
Pina Bausch presents the premiere of Rite of Spring in the South Pole.
One stage covered in ice two miles deep, 15 female dancers in thin slip dresses, 25 penguins, 150 falls—including the sun which will be setting for the last time until it rises again in September.

Contributor

Aynsley Vandenbroucke

AYNSLEY VANDENBROUCKE is a choreographer, curator, and teacher who lives in Brooklyn and Mount Tremper, NY. www.MountTremperArts.org

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