Grand Union Dance Company

February 6, 1972 112 Greene Street/Workshop

Participating Artists

Douglas Dunn
David Gordon
Nancy Green
Barbara Lloyd (Dilley)
Mary Overly
Steve Paxton
Yvonne Rainer

Exhibition Description

The members of this improvisational dance group had been associated formally for two years and informally for ten years prior to this date. “A striking element of this performance ‘supplied’ by David Gordon was the costumed appearance of each dancer. This effected a specific set of relationships as well as a deadpan rendering of character.

Except for rare moments, the performance was non-directional, with several, simultaneous points of focus, as different performers worked-out on various segments. Barbara Lloyd and Douglas Dunn created a tableau of somewhat romantic poses, using a guitar and a wicker chair as props. Steve Paxton gave a simple, yet profound “rap” on egg-shell-body-becoming.

The performance was dramatically heightened by Yvonne Rainer hysterically demanding the return of her eyeshade, an important part of her performance self. Caroline Goodden recalls, “I remember Yvonne running around with one of those printer’s  caps, and somehow, someone took it from her. She screamed ‘Who took my cap?’ and she couldn’t let the fact that her cap disappeared pass. It got very funny. I remember that dialogue as being one of the first and most powerful dialogues of the Grand Union.”

Dancer Louise Udaykee, then a Master’s student at N.Y.U. School of Performing Arts, remembers taking workshops with members of Grand Union at 112 Workshop during the Spring Semester, 1972. “Workshops took place on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Material which David Gordon developed into his piece ‘The Matter’, later performed at the Cunningham Studio, came out of these workshops. Nancy Lewis would arrive with a shopping cart and record player and everyone would do ‘Crazy Dances’ with her. Yvonne Rainer would organize imaginary base- ball games on the street in front of 112. Dong devised a game in which the participants would have the choice of being builders or sleepers, or doing some other activity. We used cardboard tubes and other materials lying around the gallery. Steve Paxton had workshop members stand still and silently listen to the inner movement danceof their own bodies. Barbara Dilley also taught. Five of the women taking these workshops continued to work with David Gordon and Barbara Dilley at 112 and elsewhere. We became the Central Notion Company which later evolved into the Interaction Dance Foundation. Trisha Brown remembers teaching on Friday evenings for a six-month period.

Excerpted from Brentano, R., & Savitt, M. (1981). 112 Workshop, 112 Greene Street: History, artists & artworks. New York: New York University Press.