Pat Catterson and Molissa Fenley are two choreographers who I have known and thought of as pivotal figures in Modern and Postmodern Dance since the 1970s and 1980s. Under the title Taking the Long View, these two amazing women will present works that reflect their influence on the dance art form Saturday and Sunday, April 15 -16, 2023, at The Dance Complex in Cambridge, Massachusetts. If you are not on the east coast, do not despair, this performance is also being streamed live on April 16th.
“Molissa Fenley and Pat Catterson have had long careers as dancers and dance makers. They both have chosen to live life as artists for the long haul; that is, they have taken the long view. As much as their work is different, they share a belief in the meaningfulness of dancing itself and the power of designed movement to change one’s perceptions.” The Dance Complex Press Release 3/2/23.
Molissa Fenley is the founder and Artistic Director of Molissa Fenley and Company (1977-present). During her substantial career, Fenley has created over 85 dance works including commissioned works for ballet and contemporary dance companies such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, (State of Darkness), Repertory Dance Theatre (Energizer), Robert Moses’ Kin (The Vessel Stories), the Seattle Dance Project, (Planes in Air), Ohio Ballet, (Feral), and Deutsche Oper Berlin, (The Bridge of Dreams). She has taught and choreographed works for many college and university dance departments throughout the country including Mills College in Oakland, California where she is Professor Emerita of Dance (1999-2020).
At The Dance Complex, Fenley will present three works: Cosmati Variations, Variation 5, music by John Cage (Third Construction); Lava Field, music by John Bischoff, (Piano 7hz); and Current Piece, music by Vijay Iyer, (Crown Thy Good). These will be danced by Christiana Axelsen, Molissa Fenley, and Timothy Ward.
Pat Catterson’s parents were professional ballroom dancers and her paternal grandfather a tap dance in Vaudeville. Based in New York City since 1968, one of her first dances was chosen to be presented at Judson Church, the center of postmodern dance in NYC. Catterson has made small and large works, performed on rooftops, on grass, on stages, a 25 foot vertical ladder to name only a few of the places she has chosen to present her pioneering work. Her choreography has been commissioned by college and university dance departments as well as professional companies that include Seattle Dance Project, Salt Lake’s Repertory Dance Theatre, Dance Theatre of Oregon, the Eglevsky Ballet Company, the Turku School of Art and Communication in Finland. Catterson has also performed extensively in works by the iconic choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer.
As part of Taking the Long View, Catterson will premiere her 116th work, Tremor, danced by Alexandra Berger, Louisa Pancoast, Maia Ramnath, Sarah Sliver Swift, Joshua Tuason and Timothy Ward, with sound score composed by Quentin Chiappetta.
“We are blessed with such an opportunity at The Dance Complex with the performances of Molissa Fenley and Pat Catterson. Their unique and distinctive careers have created a legacy of dances sewn in the tapestry of the modern dance world. In an era where the experiments of the 1960’s Judson Church allowed dance-makers following to break and create new rules of their own, Molissa and Pat paved their own iconic ways. At once saturated with legacy and the immediacy of the present moment, these concerts are bound to move us as an audience as well,” Said Peter DiMuro, Executive Artistic Director of The Dance Complex.
The Lighting Designer for Taking the Long View is Matthew Brenton.
The Dance Complex is at 536 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA., to visit their website, please click HERE.
To purchase tickets for the In Person performance on April 15 and 16, please click HERE.
To purchase tickets for the virtual streaming on April 16, 2023, please click HERE.
Written for LA Dance Chronicle by Jeff Slayton from information from The Dance Complex press release, 3/2/2023.
Featured image: Pat Catterson and Molissa Fenley courtesy of the artists