John Adams / Lucinda Childs / Frank Gehry Available Light


Lucinda Childs returns to her beginnings once again. After her Dance manifesto, dating back to 1979, and which was presented at last year’s edition of the Festival d’Automne, this great choreographer of postmodern American dance has immersed herself in the reconstruction of another milestone piece in her career, Available Light. First performed in 1983, the piece represents a honing down of her research into minimalist transparency, alongside two new companions, the composer John Adams and architect Frank Gehry.

At the time, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art gave this novel team the use of a space somewhere between warehouse and stage, and which allowed the daylight to filter in. This light, synonymous with clearness, was to provide the horizon line for John Adams’ symphonic score, Light Over Water, and his work based on a purified form of repetition which structured the movement, the steps themselves recurring like motifs.

Like Dance, Available Light echoes the spirit of a collaboration born twenty years earlier at the Judson Dance Theater, a hothouse of postmodern movement. In this his first incursion into dance, Frank Gehry drew up a constructivist set on two levels. Two groups of dancers could be superposed vertically above each other, and the counterpoint effects resulting from their dialogue were the guide for the choreographic composition. Lucinda Childs herself lead the dance when it was first performed. Here, she transmits Available Light to a new generation, continuing her quest for this luminous simplicity that time seems not to have dulled.