After Many a Summer Dies the Swan: Hybrid

2002 | 00:31:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Dance, Literature

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Yvonne Rainer combines a dance performance she choreographed for Mikhail Barryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project in 2000 with texts by Oscar Kokoschka, Adolf Loos, Arnold Schoenberg, and Ludwig Wittgenstein—four of the most radical innovators in painting, architecture, music, and philosophy to emerge from fin-de-siècle Vienna.

The dance contains, along with a variety of movement configurations, spoken lines derived from famous and unknown people’s deathbed utterances. Charles Atlas and Natsuko Inue videotaped the rehearsals of the dance. The idea for integrating some of this footage with the Vienna material came partly from the title, which both elegaically and ironically invokes a passage through time and the end of a way of life, or, more to the point, aristocratic life. Thus the passage of Baryshnikov himself is also implicated—from danseur noble roles in classical ballet to his current interests in postmodern dance.

“Beyond the resonance of the title, however, the 21st Century dance footage (itself containing 40-year-old instances of my 20th Century choreography) can be read multifariously—and paradoxically—as both the beneficiary of a cultural and economic elite and as an extension of an avant-garde tradition that revels in attacking that elite and its illusions of order and permanency. Or, finally, each dance image can be taken simply as a graphic or mimetic correlation with its simultaneous text. Some may say the avant-garde has long been over. Be that as it may, the idea of it continues to inspire and motivate many of us with its inducement—in the words of playwright/director Richard Foreman—to ‘resist the present.'"

—Yvonne Rainer 

This title is also available on A Woman Who...: Selected Works of Yvonne Rainer.

Exhibitions + Festivals

Musee De La Danse, Rennes, France, 2015

Musee Du Louvre, Paris, France, 2015