January 15 (Thursday) 7 pm
Directed by Yvonne Rainer
US, 2002, color, 35 min.
Directed by Charles Atlas
US, 2002, b/w and color, 42 min
One of the founders of the Judson Dance Theater, which served as catalyst for a movement that became a vital force in modern dance throughout the 1960s, choreographer and dancer Yvonne Rainer turned to filmmaking in the 1970s and became a leading figure in American independent cinema. Rainer has completed seven feature-length films, beginning with Lives of Performers (1972), and has recently completed a new work on video that draws upon her extraordinary dance career. Dance documentary director extraordinaire Charles Atlas has also recently produced Rainer Variations, a “video montage” that deploys a vivid array of archival film clips and new video to capture Rainer’s singular aesthetic sensibility.
The immediate source of After Many a Summer Dies the Swan: Hybrid is the dance piece Yvonne Rainer produced for Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project in 2000, in which he and five other performers appeared. Titled after Aldous Huxley’s 1939 novel about Hollywood decadence, the video engages different versions of this key piece of Rainer choreography as well as extensive texts from the writings of seminal figures in art and philosophy in early 20th-century Europe (Robert Musil, Arnold Schoenberg, Ludwig Wittgenstein). The resulting work traces for Rainer the "outcome of a fascinated inquiry that had its origin in my own practice, but also in the courses of avant-garde film, video, and performance I've been teaching intermittently over the years."