One of the centerpiece performances of Philadelphia Live Arts Festival this weekend revives a groundbreaking dance from 30 years ago.
One of the centerpiece performances of Philadelphia Live Arts Festival this weekend revives a groundbreaking dance from 30 years ago. Simply called “Dance”, the collaboration between composer Philip Glass and choreographer Lucinda Childs invented modern dance techniques still used today.
Lucinda Childs began creating dances in the 60’s and 70’s. Influenced by John Cage, she didn’t use any music at all.
“We called it quote-unquote “silence” because actually you can hear the footfall of the dancers, and that was very important because that’s how they stayed together,” said Childs.
In the 70’s, Childs began collaborating with Philip Glass, who put her avant-garde movements to his repetitive, minimalist music.
When “Dance” premiered in 1979, it was not well received. The 80-minute performance was booed off the stage in Europe. Now it’s a bit shorter and considered a seminal conceptual piece. But Philip Glass says it’s still not mainstream.
“We’ve had 30 years of audience degradation. We’ve confounded totally the idea of art and entertainment. Most art is entertainment. We’ve not trained audiences to expect more than that. It’s the fault of everybody – artmakers and audiences have accepted that,” said Glass.
Glass says dance audiences – like symphony audiences – tend to be conservative and are slow to embrace difficult material. “Dance” will be performend three times during the Live Arts Festival.