” “PositionMax Beta”

David Giuntoli and Russell Hornsby star in NBC’s “Grimm”/NBC

Yvonne Rainer was in town for a lecture at Pacific Northwest College of Art last Thursday, and she managed to change the way I looked at art all weekend. Such is the power of an interesting idea.

Way back in the 1960s, Rainer was part of the Judson Dance Theater, an informal group of choreographers who conducted far-reaching experiments into the nature of performance, specifically dance. Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Steve Paxton, David Gordon, Meredith Monk, Deborah Hay and many others created dance/performance pieces that challenged just about all the existing performance conventions.

During that time, Rainer issued her famous “No Manifesto,” a radical reduction of the trappings around dance and an assertion of the “neutrality” or “objectivity” of the performer. Here it is:

No to spectacle.
No to virtuosity.
No to transformations and magic and make-believe.
No to the glamour and transcendency of the star image.
No to the heroic.
No to the anti-heroic.
No to trash imagery.
No to involvement of performer or spectator,
No to style.
No to camp.
No to seduction of spectator by the wiles of the performer.
No to eccentricity.
No to moving or being moved.

What was left? Dancing pure and simple — and an audience whose independence and intelligence were honored, without tricks or tickles or sugar-coating. And that’s what Rainer tried to make. I don’t think she was trying to make the case that ALL art should be this way, just that some of it should, and the part she made at the very least.

So, that was on my mind as I encountered the world of art and entertainment this weekend.

Continues…