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Wrecking 2
Saturday, January 26

Wrecking 2
Saturday, January 26, 2pm
with David Gordon at Bryn Mawr College, Goodhart Hall.


“Wrecking” is a process where¬† Rethorst invites in another choreographer to work with her in-progress piece. She wrote: “He [Tere O’Connor] entered into the rehearsal process and looked at the piece as though it was to become his from that moment forward, changing it to his liking, imposing his own aesthetic with complete disregard for my intentions. I then took back the rehearsals, with the same attitude toward his changes……..akin to culture shock; disorienting, the center of gravity shifted.

David Gordon
is a dancer, choreographer, writer, actor and theatrical director prominent in the world of postmodern dance and performance. Based in New York City, Gordon's work has been seen in major performance venues across the United States, Europe, South America and Japan, and has appeared on television on PBS's Great Performances and Alive TV, and the BBC and Channel 4 in Great Britain.

Twice a Guggenheim Fellow (1981 and 1987), Gordon has been a panelist of the dance program panels of the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, and chairman of the former.[2] He is a member of the Actors Studio, and a founder of the Center for Creative Research.

Gordon is married to Valda Setterfield, a dancer and actress born in England, who was for 10 years a featured soloist with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.[2] She appears regularly in Gordon's work, and has been referred to as his "muse".[3] Their son, playwright and actor Ain Gordon, has collaborated with Gordon on a number of projects.

Style and process

Like most postmodernists in dance, Gordon employs pedestrian movement in his work,[4][5] but he is notable for his frequent use of spoken dialogue, even in "dance" pieces, as well as his Brechtian rejection of illusion coupled with an interest in theatricality.[6] He is quoted as saying "I [want] to use mundane means to a magical end."[2] A contrarian by nature, Gordon creates works which are founded on structural clarity, which he then undercuts: "I always find some way to screw up a fabulously straightforward structure," Gordon has said, "I can't seem to avoid that."[7]

Another of Gordon's hallmarks is his fondness for recycling previously used materials, both choreographic and physical.[4] According to critic Arlene Croce: "Gordon is a collagist. Many of his dances and set pieces ... can be lifted out of context and combined with new material to make a new impression."[8] This is particularly true with his use of gestures, which when seen in one context can appear meaningless or arbitrary, but which will pick up meaning and appear as deliberate when, for instance, accompanied by music or text.[7] According to Gordon:

Movement is ambiguous until you place it against some background. ... I use a great many repetitions with variations to make the ambiguities of movement apparent. Exploring the alternate possible meanings of gesture is one of my major concerns.[7]

Gordon's pieces frequently reference films and other aspects of popular culture,[1] and are often autobiographical, or at least apparently so, with the distinction between true facts and fictionalized autobiography deliberately obscured.[9] His pieces often employ humor, sometimes in self-deprecation,[10] and he has been called one of the few "comic spirits" produced by the postmodern dance movement.[2]

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