The Philadelphia Matter - 1972/2020

This summer, David Gordon will create The Philadelphia Matter - 1972/2020 through simultaneous rehearsals with dancers/performers in Philadelphia and New York City. Throughout the process, dancers/performers will work from their homes, backyards, and other personal spaces via video conferencing – this remote technology will act as both a conceptual framework and a means of continuing to work despite the pandemic. During a July and August rehearsal period, Gordon will assemble, disassemble and layer selected movement for performers using visual scores (collages) and archival video. Via remote video platforms,* Gordon will observe dancers interacting with the materials and he will use their responses to inform subsequent choices for direction of the work. The Philadelphia Matter - 1972/2020 will be streamed online by Christ Church and Philadelphia Fringe Festival in September.

* Video/projection artist Jorge Cousineau is a lead collaborator on the project. 


David Gordon, Director/Choreographer:


Founding artist of Judson Church performances and the improvisational dance group Grand Union, Gordon purposefully examines/expands/torpedoes conventional lines between theater and dance as a pioneer of the use of text and textual narrative in movement work. He presaged his later writing and directing for the stage and predated the live theater form that became known as "performance art." Gordon's dual status as theater and movement artist was acknowledged when he was awarded a Pew Charitable Trust National Dance Residency grant and a National Theater Residency grant in successive years. 


In the last decade he has received 3 NEA American Masterpiece Grant Awards and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. His numerous commissions include Actors Studio, American Ballet Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, American Repertory Theater, BBC, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York Theatre Workshop, PBS Great Performances, and Serious Fun @ Lincoln Center. Gordon has been the Founding Director of Pick Up Performance Co(s) since 1978.


Project History:


David Gordon, founding member of Judson Dance Theater, created The Matter in 1971 as part of his teaching responsibility as a member of Yvonne Rainer Company for an Oberlin College dance residency. For The Matter 1972 performances in NYC at Merce Cunningham Studio, Gordon "snail mailed" a score composed of Muybridge motion study photographs for a new solo to his wife, dancer Valda Setterfield, then on tour with The Merce Cunningham Dance Company. The Philadelphia Matter - 1972/2020 references the original work and is a method of rehearsing with current virtual remote technology. 

Christ Church Neighborhood House is producing The Philadelphia Matter - 1972/2020 in collaboration with Pick Up Performance Co(s).

Major support for The Philadelphia Matter - 1972/2020 has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.