Continuing a 20 year collaborative partnership ID and Dance North have joined forces this autumn to bring you Down to RAW, a collection of screenings showcasing the work of Deborah Hay from 1968 to the present.
This collection consists of three documentaries featuring conversations with Deborah Hay including an interview with Jeanine Durning. A further four videos are of performances of choreographed works made between 1968 and the present. These include works shown at MoMA’s Judson Dance Theatre installation as well as solos performed by Eva Mohn, Ros Warby and Deborah Hay.
This unique collection of seven films will be available online for two weeks, from 4 – 17 October. The full list of films can be seen below.
Choreographer/performer Deborah Hay began her career in the early 1960s with the Judson Dance Theatre. In her five decades at the vanguard of choreographic experimentation, she has helped re-define the field of dance with her revolutionary work and influential publications, in particular Lamb at the Altar, Duke University Press, and My Body, the Buddhist, Wesleyan University Press, and most recently a 2019 expanded edition of Using the Sky, Wesleyan University Press.
Since the 1960s Hay has researched new approaches to choreography, pairing unique forms of creative scoring with her distinct modes of practice and adaptation. Recent recognition of her work include an Honorary Doctorate from the Theater Academy in Helsinki 2009. In 2012 she received an inaugural Doris Duke Artists Award. In May 2015 the Minister of Culture and Communication awarded Hay the title of Chevalier De L’ordre des arts et des Lettres. In August 2019, Berlin’s Tanz Im August presented a month long RE-Perspective of her work. The Cullberg Company premiered Hay’s latest work Horse, the solos, in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2020.
Alignment is everywhere is an intimate portrait of Deborah Hay by filmmaker Peter Humble and interviewer David Young. It was shot in in Melbourne on a 16mm hand-cranked camera using expired and hand-processed film stock. Premiered at Berlin’s Tanz Im August (2019) and since shown in various venues.
This video was conceived to potentially engage movement from viewers as Deborah describes her current dance practice. Although the quality of the video is not very good it is an exceptionally vivid performative talk.
“Not quite 60 years ago I knew I could no longer accept the values of an art form that had shaped the trajectory of my life as well as etched its hierarchical underpinnings into the very neurons of my body. Although I was already dancing professionally, I knew I was not being nourished by my experiences of movement and performance up until that point. From then on my bodily research has centered around a process I have called A CONTINUITY of DISCONTINUITY – the continuity of my attention to the discontinuity inherent in the body-based experiments I set for myself.”
Part of the Legacy Project conceived by Jared Williams and the Lions Jaw Festival in Boston, USA. Jeanine Durning’s questions are remarkably insightful and elicit from her mentor Deborah Hay unbeknownst responses to her own legacy.
ten first premiered in 1968 at the Anderson Theater in New York City. It was recreated for this Judson exhibit and performed in the Atrium at MoMA in NYC. It is a stunning 1-hour document of a live performance with a cast of many stars from the NYC dance world accompanied by the band Gang Gang Dance.
Deborah Hay first performed The Man Who Grew Common in Wisdom in 1990 at the Warren Street Performance Loft in NYC. It is a trilogy comprised of The Navigator, The Gardener, and The Aviator. In March 1990 Jennifer Dunning wrote of the dance in the New York Times “Ms. Hay is such a strong, sure and seasoned artist that one is willing, as always, to follow her fearlessly into her luminous world. The effort of attention is repaid.” The same could be said of Eva Mohn, a Cullberg dancer whom Hay grew to know and admire when working on Figure a Sea with the Cullberg Company in 2015 in Stockholm. Eva learned the greater part of this trilogy through watching videos of Hay performing at Warren Street. Hay then coached Eva during numerous practices of the dance.
FIRE premiered in 2000 with Deborah Hay at Painted Bride in Philladelphia, USA. Ros Warby’s adaptation of FIRE is a result of Hay’s innovative Solo Performance Commissioning Project which took place from 1998 through 2012. Warby’s 2000 adaptation convinced Hay to alter her own career to work only with dancers with a similar intelligence, humor, subtlety, and experience.
“It is almost impossible to read a dancer’s body impartially – just as one’s response to the word fire is based on personal experience. Choreographically, I strive to remove the handles that can situate dancer and audience in a fixed sense of what is unfolding.”
For 50 years Hay has gradually been enlarging her practice of movement and performance through her own body-based experiments. In this recorded solo she pays tribute to this wealth of experience and for the first time she performs without the compositional edifice that previously determined one solo from another.
Recorded in 2019 in the context of Tanz Im August / RE-Perspective Deborah Hay: Works from 1968 to the present, Berlin, Germany