Interview With Douglas Dunn
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 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 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 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 6 (ca. 76 min.). June 22, 2009 continued. Douglas Dunn speaks with Joan Arnold about his dance Pulcinella and working directly with music for the first time; site specific works including Disappearances; his collaborative works and collaborators, including Mimi Gross, Charles Atlas and David Ireland; Rudy Burckhardt, including a film they did together, Rubble dance, Long Island City; Dunn's approach to physically and psychologically warming up dancers for performance; his attitude toward his own role in relationship to the dancers he works with and the work that he gives them.
The New York State Council on the Arts, 2008-2009
Oral history archive. Oral history project
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