Each generation has its forward thinkers, those who move an art form ahead by sheer innovation and force of will. The Walker joins with Hennepin Theatre Trust to look across generations and copresent a series of major new works by three visionary choreographer/directors: David Gordon, a leading force since the 1960s; Ralph Lemon, who has helped push dance in more global and multidisciplinary directions through the 1980s and 1990s; and Jérôme Bel, whose conceptual innovations of the past decade are influencing choreographers on both sides of the Atlantic. Sharing a large-scale theatricality and a rigor of invention, these works promise to intrigue, challenge, and delight.
Walker Dance at the Pantages
, ever-inventive choreographer/director (Judson Dance Theater and Guthrie Theater veteran) David Gordon wittily transforms Shakespeare’s five-act, four-hour epic into an hourlong romp on Friday–Saturday, February 18–19, at 8 pm. In one of the most fanciful works of his 35-year career, he injects snippets of the original dialogue into an inventive mix of rhythmic precision, masterful minimalism, and ingeniously simple sets and props. Rich with all the grace, ingenuity, and postmodern irreverence Gordon can muster, Dancing Henry Five is a timely reminder of the perils of war and the arrogance of power.
The Pantages Theatre is located at 710 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis.
The Pick Up Performance Company was founded in 1978 by David Gordon to create and present work in dance, theater, and media that reflects contemporary American culture in all its diversity. Gordon has received numerous commissions to create new work from companies such as American Ballet Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem, Extemporary Dance Theater of London, Group de Recherche Choreographique de l’Opera de Paris, and the White Oak Dance Project. Gordon has made work for television which has appeared on public television in the United States and on Channel 4 and the BBC in England. In theater he has received commissions from the Guthrie Theater, the American Conservatory Theater, the Mark Taper Forum, and the American Repertory Theater, Cambridge, MA.
Considered the architect of postmodernism in dance, David Gordon was a member of the Judson Dance company and over the last forty years has continued to be one of the most experimental and innovative artists woking in dance. He has performed in the companies of James Waring and Yvonne Rainer, showed dances at the Living Theater and participated in the original Judson Church performances, and was a founding member of the 1970s improvisational group the Grand Union. A Guggenheim fellow (1981 and 1987), he was also a panelist and Chairman at the NEA’s Dance Program. His video work has appeared on PBS’s Great Performances, KTCA’s Alive TV, the BBC, and Channel 4/Great Britain. He made dances for companies in England, France, Holland, and America, including ABT, Dance Theater of Harlem, and the White Oak Project.
David Gordon’s wife and longtime collaborator, dance/narrator Valda Setterfield is a Bessie and Obie Award winning performer. Originally from England, where she performed in pantomimes and with Ballet Rambert, she came to America in 1958 and joined the companies of James Waring (1958 – 62) and Merce Cunningham (1965-1974). She appeared on stage with the Grand Union and in the works of Katherine Litz, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Wilson, Richard Foreman, JoAnne Akalaitis. She performed in the works of David Gordon at the Living Theater and the Judson Church and she is a founding member of the Pick Up Company.
In 1993 the Pick Up Performance Company expanded its artistic mission to include the work of David Gordon’s long-time, yet informal collaborator, his son, playwright/director Ain Gordon. Ain Gordon’s solo and collaborative works have been presented in New York, Maryland, Washington, D.C., North Carolina, Massachusetts, Ohio, and in Sweden. He has been awarded grants and fellowships from numerous foundations, including a 1998 Guggenheim Foundation grant for playwriting. His work with David Gordon has been presented at the American Music Theater Festival, New York Theater Workshop, the Mark Taper Forum, and the American Conservatory Theater. All have won Obie awards for their individual and collaborative projects.
Walker Dance at Pantages is supported in part with funds from the Walker’s Doris Duke Fund for Jazz and Dance. Walker without Walls is made possible by generous support from Target.
Tickets to Dancing Henry Five are $29, $23 ($25, $20 Walker members) and are available by calling 612.673.0404, by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, or at the State Theatre box office at 805 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis.
Talking Dance with David Gordon
Wednesday, February 16, 7 pm FREE
Barbara Barker Center for Dance, University of Minnesota’s West Bank
Join David Gordon, Walker Performing Arts Senior Curator Philip Bither, and Linda Shapiro of the University of Minnesota Dance Program for an informed, free talk about Gordon’s work, inspirations, new directions in dance, and much more. Copresented with the University of Minnesota Dance Department. For reservation, call the Walker box office at 612.375.7600.
Walker Dance at the Pantages: Three Generations of Innovators
Continuing in March and April
Come home Charley Patton
(The Geography Trilogy: Part 3)
Friday–Saturday, March 11–12, 8 pm $29, $23 ($25, $20 Walker members) Pantages Theatre
“An extraordinary, staggering dance.” —New York Times
Guided by mental snapshots of charged historical places and events—the Mississippi home of bluesman Charley Patton, a lynching in Duluth, Civil Rights marchers blasted with a water cannon—Ralph Lemon and five performer-dancers present an intricately layered, soulful, and deeply arresting new work. Concluding Lemon’s decade-long Geography Trilogy, this chapter examines the illusory nature of memory and history through movement, music, and theater. A homecoming for the Minneapolis-born choreographer, Come home Charley Patton also includes work by former Walker artists-in-residence Nari Ward (visual art installations) and Christian Marclay (sound score). Co-commissioned by the Walker Art Center.
Supported in part with funds from the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. Additional support provided by the Bush Foundation, the Heartland Arts Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes a great nation deserves great art.
Talking Dance with Ralph Lemon
Wednesday, March 9, 7 pm FREE
Barbara Barker Center for Dance, University of Minnesota’s West Bank
The show must go on
Friday–Saturday, April 1–2, 8 pm $29, $23 ($25, $20 Walker members)
“Bel’s work is genuine . . . exciting, smart, and great, great fun.”
Notorious for his hotly debated conceptual dance work that took Europe by storm in the 1990s and is influencing dance-makers around the world today, Parisian provocateur Jérôme Bel tours the United States for the first time. Using a visually captivating and physically impressive company of 18, Bel plays off a wide range of pop songs (spun live by an onstage DJ) to outwit audience expectations with radicalism and humor. See where dance/performance art is taking us in the 21st century. Presented in association with Alliance Française de Minneapolis/St. Paul. This work contains nudity.
Supported in part with funds from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the Association Française d’Action Artistique (AFAA), and the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional funding provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
For audio and video clips of these and other upcoming Walker performances, visit us online at calendar.walkerart.org.