100 Dance Treasures

Judson Dance Theater Menu

A collective of dancers, composers, and visual artists whose experiments gave rise to postmodern dance, the Judson Dance Theater began in the summer of 1962 with a concert by Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, and other composition students of Robert Dunn at the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village. Over the course of the next two years nearly two hundred dances were presented by the group. Together they challenged the prevailing aesthetic of modern dance, especially its use of narrative, myth, and psychology, while breaking new artistic ground. Collage, fragmentation, loosely-structured scores, radical juxtaposition, and chance were typical Judson methods; spontaneity, pedestrian movement, and a belief in the beauty of the ordinary were among the group's shared values. A spirit of anarchy and permissiveness reigned, along with a minimalist impulse to pare dance to its essentials, as in Rainer's celebrated "antidance" Trio A. Among the choreographers, in addition to Rainer and Paxton, who got their start at Judson were Trisha Brown, Meredith Monk, David Gordon, and Lucinda Childs.

Learn more in Judson Church: Dance, an essay by George Jackson.