How do you freeze-frame a moment or capture everyday activities in a dance piece? The New York-based dancer, choreographer, filmmaker and writer Yvonne Rainer might have some top tips, seeing as she revolutionised contemporary dance to do just that.
Focusing on Rainer’s output between 1961 and 1972 this exhibition of stunning black-and-white photographs and grainy videos of various performances, along with her writings and diagrammatical instructions, reveals how she successfully expanded the parameters of conventional dance.
Videos such as ‘Carriage Discreteness’ (1966) and ‘Lives of Performers’ (1972) are wonderfully nostalgic, yet the timeless nature of Rainer’s choreography is brought home in a selection of live performances programmed daily during the exhibition run. What permeates throughout is her attention to how we interact with one another. She emphasises habit as a series of patterns, highlights the dependency of being independent and challenges the relationship of the audience and performer. She questions what is prescribed and what is chance. Yet she never forgets the importance of humour, with each dancer clearly enjoying themselves. Whether you have ten minutes or a couple of hours to see this show, you’ll share their sense of activation and heightened awareness.