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|Named Person:||Theresa Dickinson; Twyla Tharp|
|Material Type:||Audio book, etc.|
|Document Type:||Sound Recording, Archival Material|
|All Authors / Contributors:||
Theresa Dickinson; Jeff Friedman
|Notes:||Interview with Theresa Dickinson conducted by Jeff Friedman on July 8 and July 29, 2001, in San Francisco, Calif.
Sound quality is good overall except for cassette 6, which is poorer due to the participants' distance from the microphones. The last ca. 25 min. of side B of cassette 6 are almost unintelligible.
|Description:||6 sound cassettes (ca. 505 min.) + edited transcript|
Cassette 1, side B, 07/08/01 (ca. 44 min.). Theresa Dickinson speaks with Jeff Friedman about her family's ambitions for her; enrolling at Harvard University, her enthusiasm about her education and its radicalizing influence on her thoughts; her first modern dance classes at Harvard with Robert Cohan; further study of Graham technique in Paris and New York; changing the focus of her study to the Merce Cunningham Studio.
Cassette 2, side A, 07/08/01 (ca. 35 min.). Theresa Dickinson speaks with Jeff Friedman about the wit and variety of Merce Cunningham's choreography; John Cage's influence on her thinking; the community atmosphere of the Merce Cunningham Studio; the innovations of modern dance in New York City during the 1960s.
Cassette 2, side B, 07/08/01 (ca. 20 min.). Theresa Dickinson speaks about the late 1960s protests against the Vietnam War and in support of civil rights; her changing attitude toward the abstract nature of Cunningham's work; working in later years as part of two choreographic collectives in San Francisco; her current approaches to teaching and choreography.
Cassette 3, side A, 07/08/01 (ca. 47 min.). Theresa Dickinson speaks with Jeff Friedman about the Tharp work Re-Moves; Tharp's lesson about finding ways to connect with the material other than by verbal analysis; the routines of dance classes, rehearsals, and the close social life that was shared by Tharp's dancers in the mid-1960s; changes in the group due to Tharp's increasing fame, and why the changes caused Dickinson to pull away.
Cassette 3, side B, 07/08/01 (ca. 42 min.). Theresa Dickinson continues to speak with Jeff Friedman about the effects of success and money on creative innovation; Tharp's first experiments with partnering; why Tharp's early group was all women; Dickinson's move to San Francisco; the importance to her of contact improvisation as a physical technique and as an ethic.
Cassette 4, side A, 07/29/01 (ca. 47 min.). Theresa Dickinson speaks with Jeff Friedman about Tharp's work Medley; her work with Jani Novak and Steve Paxton in the emerging form called contact improvisation; who was active in modern dance in the San Francisco Bay area during the 1970s; studying gymnastics with Terry Sendgraff and first experiments with aerial work; meeting musician Woody Kamm; origins of the Tumbleweed company.
Cassette 4, side B, 07/29/01 (ca. 45 min.). Theresa Dickinson speaks with Jeff Friedman about her refusal to follow any master narrative of what is acceptable to society; her refusal to accept the financial imperatives of performance in order to maintain activity as a dancer; characterizes herself as an eternal beginner, rejecting perfection of form; Robert Rauschenberg and his scenic design and costuming for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; Rauschenberg's incorporation of real life as a strategy to expand the proscenium stage.
Cassette 5, side A, 07/29/01 (ca. 47 min.). Theresa Dickinson speaks with Jeff Friedman about performing at Minnie's Can-Do Jazz Club; a work for the collective group Tumbleweed titled Spintex; her new work titled Control/Remote, and her belief that improvisation is the most intense form of realism; the San Francisco artists' space The Farm, the performance groups who worked there and the increasingly divisive politics; her move to the country and teaching at Sonoma State University; the birth of two sons; being fired from the job at Sonoma State and returning to San Francisco.
Cassette 5, side B, 07/29/01 (ca. 45 min.). Theresa Dickinson speaks with Jeff Friedman about the difficult readjustment to life in San Francisco; an agreement with Christopher Beck about teaching his classes at New College; her pleasure in the non-professional students that the class attracts; making a work titled Moment to midnight, which was based on the myth of Demeter and Persephone, with direct acknowledgment of the death of Arnie Zane; formalizing the teaching arrangement at New College; establishing a group called Zaza, specializing in aerial work, with Maica Folch, a circus trapeze artist; the men who are attracted to rope work.
Cassette 6, side A, 07/29/01 (ca. 45 min.). [The sound quality of this cassette is poorer than the others. There is an echo because the speakers have moved away from the microphones.] Theresa Dickinson speaks with Jeff Friedman about her invitation to be one of twelve U.S. performing artists to work with a theater group in Poland; their plans for a production of the Greek drama Phaedra; the escalating disagreements with the director of the group and her decision to leave Poland after ten weeks; the collision of her expectations with reality; the honored place of the arts in Poland, also the repressions in individual lives, especially for women; Friedman reads from a review of a Twyla Tharp performance, and Dickinson attempts to respond.
Cassette 6, side B, 07/29/01 (ca. 44 min.). [The sound quality of the first 20 minutes of side B is similar to side A, but the remaining 25 minutes are almost inaudible.] Theresa Dickinson speaks with Jeff Friedman about how, as a young child she learned that everything always changes, and that one survives by riding the change; later, she learned from Merce Cunningham and John Cage that conscious action can be ineffective, and their techniques for how to do less; contrasts Tharp's imposition of formality in her works with her belief in the importance of survival without formality; briefly speaks about filmmaker Bob Yahraus; reminisces about Lucas Hoving. [The spoken interview changes to a movement dialogue as Dickinson and Friedman dance together for ca. 15 minutes. Squeaks of feet on the floor, whoops, audible respiration and brief exchanges of words that are unclear mark this section.] The interview concludes with Dickinson's remarks about Margy [Margaret] Jenkins; memories of other dancers who, unlike herself, are tall; and Tharp's stories of when she danced in Paul Taylor's company and how he diminished her roles to the vanishing point.