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Back in the Day
July 29, 2016
There was a stretch of 15 years spanning my 20's and 30's that I had the great privilege to work with some amazing artists and performers. I was part of what was then called the downtown post modern dance scene. The more established NYC based Modern dance companies (Graham, Cunningham, Limon, Ailey, etc.) all rehearsed above 14th street. The Post-Modern, younger generation of choreographers and dance artists, the fish I was swimming with, all worked below 14th.
Most of the post-moderns were struggling to make ends meet, hustling for grants and living on unemployment insurance between projects. The MO that worked best for most was to operate as "pick-up companies". Choreographers would pick up a bunch of dancers for a particular project or performance, and then disband, either temporarily or longer.
To make a living as a performer in that scene you had to juggle working for several companies. If you had skills enough to be in demand, you might be doing a few at once. At the time, any male with reasonable skills was in demand. I managed to keep pretty busy. It was an exciting and difficult time of my life.
The short list of artists I worked for includes Ohad Naharin, Bebe Miller, David Parsons, David Gordon, Frey Faust, and others. I auditioned for some of the bigger fish like Trisha Brown and Paul Taylor, and made it to the last but not final cuts. I always loved auditioning. Not sure why. Performing often terrified me, but never auditioning. Perhaps I expected perfection from myself in performance, but was more generous about auditions.
For the sake of both humbling and raising myself, I offer these windows to my past.
Viewing these videos now, decades after the fact, I am met with a mix of glee, compassion, and horror. A bit like revisiting one's adolescent diaries. Nothing quite as vulnerable.
Here's a bit of my time with the Bebe Miller group.