Lisa Nelson and Steve Paxton

Performance Series at Dia:Chelsea

<p>Photo of Lisa Nelson and Steve Paxton, Night Stand, 2004.<br>
Performance at L'animal a l'esquena, Celrà, Spain, 2008. Photo © Jordi Bover.</p>

Photo of Lisa Nelson and Steve Paxton, Night Stand, 2004.
Performance at L'animal a l'esquena, Celrà, Spain, 2008. Photo © Jordi Bover.


In October 2013, Night Stand (2004), created and performed by postmodern choreographers and longtime collaborators, Lisa Nelson and Steve Paxton, will have its United States premiere in Chelsea. Night Stand follows the twenty-four year run of their duet PA RT (1978), continuing their development of the theater of improvisational dance.

In fall 2014, a program of Paxton’s work will be presented at Dia:Beacon.


Press Release

September 18. 2013

Dia Art Foundation Presents United States Premiere of Lisa Nelson and
Steve Paxton's Night Stand at Dia:Chelsea

Thursday, October 10-Saturday, October 12, 2013, 8 pm
Thursday, October 17-Saturday, October 19, 2013, 8 pm

New York, NY-Dia Art Foundation will present the United States premiere of Night Stand (2004), created and performed by postmodern choreographers and longtime collaborators, Lisa Nelson and Steve Paxton. In October 2013, six performances will take place at Dia:Chelsea. The presentation of Night Stand marks Dia's first performance program in New York City since 2003.

Night Stand, which premiered in 2004 at the Centre chorégraphique national de Montpellier, France, follows the twenty-four-year run of Nelson and Paxton's duet PA RT (1978), continuing their development of the theater of improvisational dance.

As a founding member­­­ of the seminal experimental dance groups Judson Dance Theater (1962-64) and Grand Union (1970-76), Paxton was instrumental in defining American postmodern dance. Paxton focused on pedestrian movement, specifically the acts of standing still and walking, and he affirmed his interest in 1964 by stating, "I might spend five or six hours a day working on my body and working on dance . . . and yet all the rest of the time my body was just carrying on by itself and I became really interested to see what was happening on that level." By 1971, Paxton had begun to develop a new dance movement that utilized duet improvisation to explore touch, time, weight, and falling in unprecedented ways, eventually calling it Contact Improvisation. Nelson and Paxton met in 1972 at Bennington College, where they were both teaching dance.

Nelson's explorations of how composition arises in the body and its environment, widely known as Tuning Scores, have sought to capture the essence of and unite the experience of dancing with the performance of observation. As Nelson states, "The scores call on everything one knows, combining the discipline of observation through multiple senses with the art and crafting of memory: keys to the art of improvisational dance as I know it." Nelson and Paxton's collaborations are an ongoing dialogue with the body's imagination.

Night Stand demonstrates Dia's ongoing commitment to presenting experimental dance and performance through commissions and retrospectives of historical works. Past presentations include Yves Musard's The Chelsea Dance Promenade (1996); Hiroshi Sugimoto and Naohiko Umewaka's Noh Such Thing as Time (2001); Robert Whitman's Prune Flat and Light Touch (2003); Joan Jonas's The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things (2005-6); Merce Cunningham Dance Company's Beacon Events (2007-9); Trisha Brown Dance Company (2009-10); Robert Whitman's Passport and MoonRain (2011); and, most recently, Yvonne Rainer (2011-12).

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 8 pm
Friday, October 11, 2013, 8 pm
Saturday, October 12, 2013, 8 pm

Thursday, October 17, 2013, 8 pm
Friday, October 18, 2013, 8 pm
Saturday, October 19, 2013, 8 pm

General tickets: $35
Dia member / student / senior tickets: $25
Visit for tickets and more information.

541 West 22nd Street, New York City

This program is made possible in part by Dia's Commissioning Committee: Jill and Peter Kraus, Leslie and Mac McQuown, Genny and Selmo Nissenbaum, and Liz Gerring Radke and Kirk August Radke.

Lisa Nelson was born in New York City in 1949. She began her training in traditional modern dance and ballet as a child at the Juilliard School in New York City and then Bennington College in Vermont. Throughout the 1970s she investigated diverse approaches to dance improvisation, including performing with Daniel Nagrin's Workgroup, and began her research into the sense of vision and the performance of movement through the medium of video. Her intensive practice in dance and video led her to develop the Tuning Score, a rigorous model for real-time editing and communication for ensemble and solo work. Nelson performs, teaches, and creates dances internationally, and maintains long-term collaborations with other artists, including Image Lab, Daniel Lepkoff, Steve Paxton, Scott Smith, and Cathy Weis.

Nelson received a New York Dance and Performance Award, or Bessie, in 1987, and an Alpert Award in the Arts in 2002. She coedits Contact Quarterly, a journal focused on dance and improvisation founded in 1975, and directs Videoda, a project that archives, produces, and distributes videotapes of improvisational dance. In 2001, the French-language magazine Nouvelles de Danse published an issue about her work, titled Vu du Corps: Lisa Nelson, Mouvement et Perception. She lives in Vermont.

Steve Paxton was born in Arizona in 1939. He began his movement studies in gymnastics and then trained in ballet and modern dance. In summer 1958, Paxton attended the American Dance Festival at Connecticut College, where he trained with choreographers Merce Cunningham and José Limón. Soon after, he moved to New York City. He was a member of the José Limón Company in 1959 and a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1961 to 1964. He was a founding member of Judson Dance Theater (1962-64) and Grand Union (1970-76), two movements that indelibly redefined dance for the following decades. In the late 1960s, Paxton created work from pedestrian, everyday movement, including such preeminent early dances as Flat (1964), Satisfyin Lover (1967), and State (1968). In the 1970s, Paxton was involved with Grand Union, a dance theater collective that included Becky Arnold, Trisha Brown, Douglas Dunn, David Gordon, Nancy Lewis, Barbara Lloyd (Dilley), Yvonne Rainer, and Lincoln Scott. It was during his time with Grand Union that he first formulated Contact Improvisation, which has remained an influential dance form. He then developed the movement practiceMaterial for the Spine from Contact Improvisation in 1986. Paxton's interest in improvisation has continued to guide his choreographic practice over the past twenty-five years.

During his fifty-year career, Paxton has received two New York Dance and Performance Awards, or Bessies, in 1987 and 1999, and has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Rockefeller Foundation; the Contemporary Performance Arts Foundation; Change, Inc.; and Experiments in Art and Technology. He received the Vermont Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1994 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1995. He has also been a contributing editor to Contact Quarterly dance journal. In 2008, Paxton published the four-hour DVD Material for the Spine, which examines technical movement outward from the core of the body. He lives in Vermont.

CAROL MULLINS, Lighting Designer
Carol Mullins has been designing lighting for the stage since the 1970s and has served as resident lighting designer for the Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery since 1982. She has designed lighting for dance works by choreographers including Douglas Dunn, John Kelly, Wendy Perron, and Elizabeth Streb. In addition to Night Stand, she designed lighting for Lisa Nelson and Steve Paxton's PA RT in 1983. Mullins has received three New York Dance and Performance Awards, or Bessies, and an Obie Award in 2003 for Painted Snake in a Painted Chair by the Talking Band.

Dia Art Foundation, founded in 1974, is committed to initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving extraordinary art projects. Dia:Beacon opened in May 2003 in Beacon, New York. Dia also maintains several long-term, site-specific projects including Walter De Maria's The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus's Times Square (1977), Joseph Beuys's 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks) (1988), and Dan Flavin's untitled (1996), all in Manhattan; the Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, New York; De Maria's The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977) in Kassel, Germany; Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (1970) in the Great Salt Lake, Utah; and De Maria's The Lightning Field (1977) in Quemado, New Mexico. Dia also commissions original artists' projects produced for the web and produces scholarly publications.

Dia currently presents temporary installations, performances, lectures, and readings on West 22nd Street in the Chelsea section of New York City, the neighborhood it helped pioneer. Plans for a new project space are underway.

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For additional information or materials contact: / 212 293 5518

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