Friday, August 9, 2013

20-year anniversary : Elaine Summers

Elaine Summers during "Invitation to Secret Dancers"
New York City 2005, photo ©2005 by Jeff Fox
Today it is exactly 20 years ago that I met Elaine Summers in Vienna taking her workshop in video-dance at Internationale Tanzwochen Wien. The consequences of this meeting have pretty much shaped my life, both professionally, but also privately. They provided & helped find much needed answers that I was urgently looking for, new perspectives that I hadn't considered yet, and continue to give me an example for doing things in what to me deeply seems right, both as a professional and as a human being. 

Elaine Summers has helped revolutionize dance as we know it today, by expanding its connectivity to include and exchange with many areas not traditionally thought of as dance: not just everyday movements, but also connection to the moving image of film and later video-projection, creating intermedia, drama and acting, un-trained dancers, traditional dance vocabulary, and the internet. Unlike many of her once-colleagues at the now famous collective Judson Dance Theater that continued in the years of 1962-64 after the watershed workshop started by Robert Dunn, and parallel to the groundbreaking work of Anna Halprin on the West Coast, Elaine Summers created a very technique that encompasses all of what was created at Judson (Kinetic Awareness®) and has remained true to her ever ongoing research of dance by providing a very simple and very effective framework and principal of learning. I find her instrumental in directing dance from its late-modern state to post-modernism, from form and vocabulary to awareness & perception, from where new forms can emerge that fit the human dancer more closely ...

I know that I am extremely fortunate to have met her during my formative years. Without her my life would have undoubtedly taken on a very different tangent and, I dare pose, have been a lot less fulfilled than it feels today. Thank you ☺

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