In mid-January 2012 I went and listened to Steve Paxton at Goldsmith’s University in London. The evening was, in many respects, a moving tribute to Merce Cunningham, and Paxton was eloquent, smart and funny. Below is a small collection of some of the things he said:

on accepting versus understanding:

Regarding Cunningham, Paxton described how it took him years to accept, let alone understand Cunningham’s central idea of just doing the movement”. He described how any question (the thing one is proposing) is amplified when confronted by an audience, but what if you are proposing nothing? He described this as the Cunningham void”.

on pleasure and Judson:

Paxton remembered, more than anything, the pleasure of the company of the Judson Church group (and also his gym team earlier on). He mentioned Judson’s rule: Don’t copy other people’s work”, and he also said (of Judson) that some of the work was crap” but that it’s long gone”, and and there is no evidence”.

on contact improvisation:

It’s a virus. I hope it’s doing well. I hope it’s being used to explore movement.

on standing still:

Standing still is the wrong term

I recognise that this post might be a little mysterious if you aren’t an improviser, or aren’t aware of Steve Paxton’s work, but I thought it was worth sharing these brief notes because they hint at the breadth of Paxton’s thinking.

Up next preparing for ghosts - the many melodies audience performer configurations
Latest posts cookie monster Now: 4 October 2021 Cellule d’Essai 2021: A biography of sorts time management advice probably in a good place what one already knows the show is over belonging is stronger than facts Now: 25 July 2021 weakness of the flesh choreography and explaining jokes 2004 and 2021 elvis legs grateful love the infinite game and choreography choosing to pay Now: 17 April 2021 the eyes of the other loneliness, uncertainty and boredom better left unsaid 120fps le mani lil making postcards before they love sneaky aspects of group deliberation informational heartbeats what gordon parks saw rhoneisms ideology mean world syndrome dream baby dream and joy