Obituary for Steve Paxton

Steve Paxton, 2002 © Chris Harris

We mourn the loss of our companion, teacher, dancer, choreographer, visionary and pioneer of contemporary dance, Steve Paxton, who has left us at the age of 85.

Steve Paxton, born in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1939, began his dance career in New York in the 1960s and gained fame as a member of the legendary Judson Dance Theatre. However, he quickly became a key figure in Postmodern Dance and – together with Nancy Stark Smith a. o. – developed Contact Improvisation. He constantly pushed the boundaries of what dance could be and revolutionised the understanding of the human body and its movements.

As a tireless innovator, he left a significant legacy for the dance world and inspired generations of dancers. His influence reached far beyond his choreographic works. This is also the case with ImPulsTanz. He taught at the festival for the first time in 1994, and presented a total of seven performances up until 2002. This also included one of his wonderful improvisations: In 1994, Steve Paxton and Trisha Brown appeared on stage together for the first time since the Judson Dance Theatre. At Volkstheater, besides solo works they performed a unique and humorous improvisation as a duet. In 1997, he improvised together with, among others, Meg Stuart, Christine de Smedt, David Hernandez, Mark Tompkins, Harry Dewit, Kate Valk, Lawrence Malstaf, Nadia Lauro and Maria Anguera de Sojo under the title Crash Landing at MuseumsQuartier. And finally, in 2002, he brought together the temporary Lisbon Group, consisting of Boris Charmatz, Vera Mantero, Frans Poelstra and Sílvia Real, among others, for three outstanding improvisation evenings at Burgtheater rehearsal stage at Arsenal. Highlights that we look back on with fond memories!

We are grateful that he shared his passion and dedication for dance and teaching with us, and for all that he has given to the dance world!

Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to all who mourn Steve’s passing with us.
You will be missed!
Karl Regensburger, Rio Rutzinger and the entire ImPulsTanz team

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Date: 21.05.2024, 05:46 | Link: