danceworkbook: A Steady Pulse: Restaging Lucinda Childs, 1963–78

Reclining Rondo, choreographed by Lucinda Childs. Dancers: Judy Padow, Susan Brody, and David Woodberry. This photo was taken in Childs’ loft. Photo © 1975 Babette Mangolte. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1602, New York.

Danceworkbook, a series produced by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, documents the creative practice of living and working with dance.

“My dances are an intense experience, of intense looking and listening.” —Lucinda Childs

The fourth iteration of danceworkbook, A Steady Pulse: Restaging Lucinda Childs, 1963–78, is a dynamic reexamination of the early dances of one of America’s most influential contemporary choreographers. The workbook brings together Lucinda Childs’ extensive archives, scores, photos, videos, newly released essays, and a series of restagings performed in Philadelphia.

Childs began her career in 1963 as an original member of the Judson Dance Theater in New York. Over the last 50 years, she has collaborated with some of the world’s most distinguished composers, designers, and artists, including Frank Gehry, Philip Glass, Sol Lewitt, and Robert Wilson.

Lucinda Childs’ Reclining Rondo in performance, Friday October 4, 2013, at FringeArts, Philadelphia. Dancers front to back: Michele Tantoco, Janet Pilla, and Megan Bridge.

In her essay about Childs’ mid-1970s “dances in silence,” historian and dance scholar Suzanne Carbonneau writes, “Childs’ embrace of refusal—of beauty—sets her apart from trends in the contemporary dance scene, where conceptual or expressionistic concerns dominate. With kinetic insistence, her dances continue to chart their own course, her choreography always tacking against prevailing winds.”

In 2010, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage supported the restaging of Lucinda Childs’ large-scale production, Dance, as the centerpiece of the 2010 Fringe Festival. Inspired by this extraordinary performance—hailed as “one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century” by The Wall Street Journal—and eager to provide effective capacity-building opportunities for local artists, the Center supported local dancers through advanced training by Lucinda Childs and her creative collaborator Ty Boomershine in 2013. This training led to the restaging of the dances presented in A Steady Pulse.

Childs’ multidisciplinary 1983 work, Available Light, with music by John Adams and set design by Frank Gehry, was reimagined at the 2015 Fringe Festival.


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This paper by Indonesian dance scholar Sal Murgiyanto was originally presented at “Traces of Tradition,” a panel discussion held at the International Dance Conference, August 1-4, 2004.

Grants & Grantees

Known for innovation, creativity, and preservation of African-American traditions in dance, Philadanco has been dancing in the Philadelphia community since 1970.

Grants & Grantees

Thaddeus Phillips (Pew Fellow, 2002) creates theater works that use transformational scenography, documentary footage, and improvisation to peer into not-often seen worlds.

Promoting cultural exchanges between Ukrainians and the global community, Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble seeks to represent the country’s culture through dance.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Shawn McBride is a writer and a 2005 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Justin Witte is a visual artist and a 2004 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Annenberg Center Live brought Oakland-based arts activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph to Philadelphia in fall 2012 for a six-day residency and the regional premiere of a new work.

Grants & Grantees

This production marked the Arden Theatre’s first commission for its children’s series.

Grants & Grantees

Marianela Boan incorporated a wide range of movement styles and media forms to create Office, the basis for a piece that was presented during the 2010 FringeArts festival.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Boomershine has presented his work at Movement Research and Danspace Project, and he arranges and develops workshops and creative/educational residencies for and with Lucinda Childs.

Grants & Grantees

Kariamu Welsh is a dancer and a 1996 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Featuring Forsythe’s signature choreography, this production pushed the physical limits of Pennsylvania Ballet dancers, demanding sharp timing, precise syncopation, and coordination.