In the early '60s, a group of visual artists, musicians, writers and choreographers collaborated on radically new work at the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village. Their performances made strong political statements, encouraged audience participation and included movements culled from the street rather than the stage.
The Judson Dance Theater, as this group came to be called, has profoundly influenced the current generation of dance-makers. This weekend, local and out-of-town artists and scholars will pay tribute to the collective with a series of performances, films, exhibits and discussions.
David Appel, a dancer/choreographer who has studied with Judsonites Simone Forti, Steve Paxton and Judith Dunn, has reconstructed a number of works from this ground-breaking period: Yvonne Rainer's "Trio A," a solo that does away with climaxes, audience contact, virtuosity and other givens of traditional performance; Steve Paxton's "Jag Ville Gorna Telefonera," a duet based on photographs of athletes; and Forti's "Hangers," "Rollers" and "Crawling," three pieces that set up specific tasks for the performers to complete within a time-frame. These works, along with one of Appel's own dances, will be presented this Friday and Saturday at the Washington Project for the Arts.
The reconstructions will be accompanied by an exhibition at WPA of photos, drawings, musical scores, posters, programs and videotaped interviews with many of the Judson artists. This Saturday at 5, Smithsonian Performing Arts is also sponsoring a symposium on the subject, including a panel discussion and films chronicling the movement. PERFORMANCE: THE LEGACY OF THE JUDSON -- This Friday and Saturday at 8; Washington Project for the Arts, 400 Seventh Street NW. $6; students and over 60, $5. Call 347-8304. EXHIBITION: JUDSON DANCE THEATER: 1962-1966 -- Through April 16 at WPA's second-floor gallery, Tuesdays through Saturdays 11 to 5. SYMPOSIUM AND FILMS -- This Saturday at 5 at Baird Auditorium, Museum of Natural History, 10th and Constitution NW. $3. Call 357-1500.