Interview With Douglas Dunn
Disc 5 (ca. 67 min.). June 22, 2009. Douglas Dunn speaks with Joan Arnold about the relationship between music and dance in general and in his own work; management issues in his early career; describes some of his early pieces including Gesture in red; Lazy Madge; more on the atmosphere at the Merce Cunningham Dance Company during the time he was there and how his own creative process developed; other pieces including Rille and Coquina; experimenting with chance operations; more on his creative process and motivations; individualism and art; the challenges of recording movement and reconstructing dances; his work, Game tree; his home at 541 Broadway in New York City and the other dance artists who live in the building.
Disc 4 (ca. 65 min.). May 15, 2009 continued. Douglas Dunn speaks with Joan Arnold about meeting Sara Rudner; their relationship and dancing together; working with the performance group The Grand Union (also known as The Rio Grand Union) as well as with Yvonne Rainer and her group before it became The Grand Union; Rainer's sources of inspiration; his own first choreography and his developing identity as an artist; the naming and incorporation of The Grand Union; consciousness and creativity; economic survival while dancing with Cunningham; physical aspects of survival in terms of injury and care of the dancer's body; his own injury and state of mind during this period; his next crossroads as an artist, including finding the courage to be an independent choreographer.
Disc 3, (ca. 43 min.). May 15, 2009. Douglas Dunn speaks with Joan Arnold, first clarifying some names and facts from the last interview; about his attraction to Merce Cunningham's use and training of the body; his affinity for the way ballet was taught at the Joffrey School; with reference to the work Place, the inherent drama of Cunningham's choreography; early conflicts in Dunn's life and his feeling that Cunningham's work helped him to resolve them; Twyla Tharp's use of the body as compared with that of Cunningham's; her choreography and career; describes his reaction to Sara Rudner's dancing in Tharp's work.
Disc 2 (ca. 70 min.). May 1, 2009 continued. Douglas Dunn speaks with Joan Arnold further about the impact of his upbringing; about the encouragement to dance he received from a professor at Princeton; his first dance teachers and first performance; his father's response to his dance career; attending the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival; experiences shortly after college, including taking class with Alexandra Danilova; working in a mail room and at a social welfare agency; returning to school to study aesthetics; marrying and teaching at a prep school for three years; the birth of his son; attending his first dance class at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio; Cunningham's teaching; Dunn's first performance experiences in New York; Margie Jenkins's involvement with the Cunningham studio; learning Cunningham's role in Rune, in a workshop; the expanding role of dance in his life; being asked to join the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Disc 1 (ca. 66 min.). May 1, 2009. Douglas Dunn speaks with Joan Arnold about his childhood in then-rural Palo Alto, California; his first school, The Peninsula School; other early memories; moving to San Francisco in 4th grade; his father, Robert Douglas Dunn, and his mother, Editha Wright Dunn, and their family dynamics and history; his sensuous appreciation of life and nature as a child; working with cattle and horses; returning to Palo Alto for junior high and high school; his first experiences with dance; his perception of his relationship to American culture; his interest in sports and moving to the East Coast to attend Princeton University.
Chance composition in dance
The New York State Council on the Arts, 2008-2009
The National Endowment for the Arts, 2008-2009
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