First full-length study of seminal New York City performance group
The Grand Union was a leaderless improvisation group in SoHo in the 1970s that included people who became some of the biggest names in postmodern dance: Yvonne Rainer, Trisha Brown, Steve Paxton, Barbara Dilley, David Gordon, and Douglas Dunn. Together they unleashed a range of improvised forms from peaceful movement explorations to wildly imaginative collective fantasies. This book delves into the "collective genius" of Grand Union and explores their process of deep play. Drawing on hours of archival videotapes, Wendy Perron seeks to understand the ebb and flow of the performances. Includes 65 photographs.
"I didn't know how much I needed this book in my library until now. It is so alive, a beautifully researched book, giddily holding and challenging the myth. A band of dance anarchists that left no choreographic traces but changed almost everything that has been danced in contemporary dance since. One of these artists and one of my teachers, Barbara Dilley, calls Grand Union her 'art mother.' I call the writing and dance giants documented (and imagined) an art book triumph."~Ralph Lemon, choreographer
"Dancer and choreographer Wendy Perron observes her subjects through the body, memory, deep research, and a passion for all that movement makes possible. On high alert, she helps us see that the performers of Grand Union were more than dancers; they were wise, funny, wildly brave rebels laying a trail for so much of contemporary dance today."~Liz Lerman, MacArthur Award–winning choreographer
"An articulate writer, Perron witnessed much of Grand Union's history, and has spent fifty years thinking deeply about the issues it raises. Her book is a great gift to the dance field, and to cultural studies in general."~Elizabeth Zimmer, Guest Artist, Hollins University MFA Program in Dance
"Anyone struggling to teach young dance artists in this difficult time should share this volume with them; it's not merely a history, but also a collection of ways of knowing, full of resources that bring to life a period of great change in the life of New York City and the country as a whole."~arts meme
"In her detailed, intimate narration of the archival videos, Ms. Perron creates a sort of dance-theater of the mind—a trippy experience that seems all the more potent now that live dance has been put on hold. In some ways, the book, with its multiple voices and context-providing interludes, feels a bit like choreography. And throughout, it's a story about peopleoverflowing with imagination."~Gia Kourlas, The New York Times