Radical Bodies​​ Exhibit Resurrects Judson Dance Theater in New York (Until September 16)

Rainer, Halprin and Forti at the exhibit at UCSB. Photo by Ellen Crane, courtesy of the photographer

The exhibit Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955–1972 is filled with exhibits, performances and conferences honoring the three postmodern dance living legends.

The event, first held at UCSB earlier this year, is a collaborated effort curated by Ninotchka D. Bennahum (Professor of Theater and Dance, UCSB), Wendy Perron (editor-at-large, Dance Magazine) and Bruce Robertson (Professor of Art History and Director of the AD&A Museum.

The exhibit includes approximately 200 photographs, videos, and original scores and drawings by Halprin, Forti and Rainer as well as work inspired by them, presented in photographs, documents, videos and original works of art.

Paper Dance by Ellen Crane. Photo courtesy of Crane

As part of the Radical Bodies exhibit, students at UC Santa Barbara contributed commentary to an online forum within an upper division dance history seminar—Dance as Social Protest: Art, Dance, Film, 1955–1975.

The following are reflections from UCSB Dance Company seniors who learned The Paper Dance from Parades and Changes (1965). The provocative piece, choreographed by Anna Halprin, is meant to intersect dance, sculpture and the human condition, as the dancers remove their clothes down to the nude and wrap their bodies with shredded brown paper. The students worked with Halprin and performed for a full house at the Halten Theater on Saturday, January 28.

"Rehearsing with Anna was wonderful. In the weeks leading up to the performance, we rehearsed the essences of the dance: moving with awareness of the self in relation to the space, the paper, the sound, and most importantly, each other. We practiced placing and moving our bodies. We were warned from the get go that Halprin creates in relation to the time, individual performers, performance space, and the audience, and to be ready and willing for things to change once Anna arrived in Santa Barbara to rehearse with us. Anna made changes which allowed us a richer connection to the audience, the moment, each other, our selves." —Kaydee Black

"I was amazed how even decades later, the meaning behind The Paper Dance is still extremely relevant in the times we are currently living through. What makes the piece so incredible is that is has this ability to transcend time periods and social settings due to a message that is universal and potent." —Colin Sneddon

"I had to come to terms with being the only African American in a predominantly Caucasian company. Being in this piece gave me a confidence I had never had before, even though I don't totally agree with Anna's view on being able to desexualize nudity. The performance aspects of the piece had more baring for me, the contact with the audience and with the performers on stage made the piece a safe haven in itself. It didn't really feel like anyone viewing the piece was imposing upon us but rather being with us along the process." —Kweisi Petillo

Radical Bodies comes to New York, formally opening at the Library for Performing Arts at Lincoln Center on May 24 and runs until September 16. A performance by dancers of the University of California Santa Barbara Dance Company and guest artist Simone Forti will be on Wednesday, May 31, at 7:30 p.m., at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.

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