Lucinda Childs Early Works


Dance, this art of incarnation of a unique kind, never ceases to establish and re-establish the pre-requisites for its transmission. How, in today’s world, can we access works produced over fifty years ago? How can we breathe new life into their movements, and show them in different bodies? For this exceptional schedule of performances devoted to the work of Lucinda Childs, the CND Centre National de la Danse, La Commune Centre Dramatique National d’Aubervilliers, the MC93 and the Festival d’Automne à Paris have come together to present a wide cross-section of her work, dating from early works created at the Judson Church in the 1960’s, to Description (of a description) created in the year 2000 - a solo which Lucinda Childs still performs today.

The opening up of the CND, to the outdoors, and the banks of the Ourcq canal, will also enable audiences to rediscover the Radial Courses quartet (1976), whose circular structure and elementary syntax, comprised of walking, running, hops, skips and jumps, lays the foundations for the minimalist style. Echoing this, two solos taken from Dance (1979), brought together in the form of a duo, will allow us to contemplate the continuity of this choreographic language on its return journey to the sources of movement.

At the CND, the reconstitution work lead by Lucinda Childs and her niece Ruth Childs will be plunging us headlong into a compelling flashback. On the frontiers of dance and performance, these works bring out all the radicalism of the post-modern movement - situated somewhere between the refusal of the spectacular and the widening of dance’s field of action or scope, via the incorporation of commonplace gestures. The first, Pastime - an intriguing choreographic sculpture in which the body, wrapped up in a piece of fabric, explores the interplay between surface and volume afforded by this enveloping effect - will be the subject of a one-off revival performed by Mathilde Monnier, director of the CND Centre National de la Danse. Carnation is an emblematic work of post-modern dance which, due to the simplicity of its effects and visual arts-related impact, has paved the way for a whole host of contemporary dancers and performers. In this ready-made choreographic offering, Lucinda Childs embarks on a methodical deconstruction of her own image with the aid of objects taken from everyday life, ranging from sponges to hair-rollers. Lastly, Museum Piece, brings into existence the fantastical scenario of being situated inside a painting in order to describe and spatialize it, as well as to experiment with all the perception-based divergencies at play between discourse, painting and dance. Thirty years later, she returns to this critical use of language in the solo Description (of a description), devised in response to a song by Susan Sontag.


For the third part in this journey, La Commune Centre Dramatique National d’Aubervilliers will be presenting Katema, Reclining Rando and Interior Drama, three pieces from the 1970’s which together form a true laboratory of minimalism, and in which the repetition of the same rhythms in accordance with different geometric formations produces a compulsive combination of gestures and rhythms. This programme will also provide the opportunity to rediscover her Concerto, from 1993, set to Henryk Górecki’s harpsichord concerto, which in turn marks the debut of the choreographer’s explorations into contemporary music, accompanied by the harpsichordist Elisabeth Chojnacka.