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Dances with Spoken Word

Although dance is itself an eloquent language with its own vocabulary, some artists also incorporate the spoken word into their work.

8 performances


Dances with Spoken Word



And at midnight the green bride floated through the village square..., 2013

The influential Yemeni dance artist Margalit Oved often spoke in her own works, and her son Barak Marshall showcased some of her stories in his new creation for BODYTRAFFIC’s 2013 Pillow debut. The story leads into a delicious movement section, so be sure to watch it all!

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Playing 1 of 8


Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company

Story / Time, 2012

Members of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company do the dancing here while Jones himself handles the speaking, and it’s a fascinating combination. Story/Time was inspired by John Cage’s Indeterminacy, a random collection of Cage’s stories.

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Playing 2 of 8


Liz Gerring Dance Company

she dreams in code, 2012

The use of text in Liz Gerring’s work is somewhat ironic, as she eschews traditional storytelling in favor of an abstract approach where the movement is the message. This 2012 excerpt from she dreams in code uses recorded text embedded in Michael J. Schumacher’s electronic score.

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Playing 3 of 8


Martha @ The Pillow

Debate 2002 / Three Seascapes, 2002

It’s a rare treat to hear the Judson Dance Theatre’s iconic Yvonne Rainer speaking about some of her groundbreaking work, as she does here in a mock “debate” with Richard Move channeling Martha Graham. These choice moments from 2002 include Patricia Hoffbauer’s recreation of an early Rainer solo.

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Playing 4 of 8


Joe Goode Performance Group

Doris in a Dustbowl, 2001

A longtime dynamic force in San Francisco, the Joe Goode Performance Group has only made one Pillow appearance thus far, and it was fortuitously a retrospective program that included Goode himself in one of his most enduring duets. Goode’s way of speaking and moving is all his own and well worth sampling.

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Playing 5 of 8


Liz Lerman Dance Exchange

Hallelujah: In Praise of Fertile Fields, 2000

The text in this work has special Pillow significance, as it was drawn from the diary of Esther Miller, who served as the cook here in 1942. Lerman incorporated a particularly poignant diary entry into her 2000 work, Hallelujah: In Praise of Fertile Fields, commissioned by the Pillow.

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Playing 6 of 8


Steve Paxton

Improvisation Project, 1998

A pioneer of the improvisational technique known as contact improvisation, here Paxton explains the concept while two dancers demonstrate. More of a lecture-demonstration than a formal dance, this excerpt sheds a fascinating light on a central building block of contemporary dances.

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Playing 7 of 8

Ralph Lemon

Solo, 1991

This solo originated from a recorded conversation with tap pioneer LaVaughn Robinson. Lemon and his work were seen here often in the 1980s and 1990s, but this clip marks his first appearance in Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive. Here’s an unusual opportunity to sample Lemon’s dancing at an earlier stage in his career.

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Playing 8 of 8

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