A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

Steve Paxton's "Bound" will be staged at REDCAT. / Photo by Nada Zgank

Back in the days after ballet was remodeled into weight-bearing modern dance, after choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage brought chance encounters front and center, and just as the Judson Church revolutionaries de-constructed movement into post-modernism, Steve Paxton explored how “untrained” bodies could develop a dance form that came to be known as Contact Improvisation. Now fully ensconced in the vocabulary of many contemporary movers, this unpredictable weight-sharing investigation has come of age. On Wednesday through Friday night, May 11-13, at 8:30 p.m., a signature work of Paxton’s solo oeuvre, “Bound,” which has been re-imagined and re-staged, will be presented with its 77-year-old founder in attendance at the Roy and Edna Disney Cal Arts Theater (REDCAT).

“Bound” will be performed by Slovenian Jurij Konjar to a sound score of Bulgarian women’s choirs, Canadian Brass and other soundscapes. This evening-length work was first performed, by Paxton, in 1982. It is described in promotional materials as “composed of isolated vignettes, combined with eclectic music and images that are not immediately logical . . . [but they] add up to something larger as they accumulate.”

Paxton, a multi-award-winning Arizona-born artist, performed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in the 1960s and went on from there to share his own movement findings with audiences across the globe.

Though “Bound” may seem outdated by today’s mixture of movement styles and approaches, this is where a new perspective on dance and performance all started. It blew people’s minds when it first appeared on the dance scene. It’s history worth remembering.

And, from 7 to 8 p.m. on opening night, locally based octogenarian Judson Church dance improviser/choreographer Simone Forte will speak with her colleague Paxton, bringing their historic relationship front and center, here and now, in front of you and me.

—Benn Widdey Culture Spot LA

REDCAT is located at 631 W. Second St., LA 90012. Tickets are $12-$25 and can be purchased at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/954273, or call the REDCAT box office at (213) 237-2800. For information, visit https://www.redcat.org/event/steve-paxton-bound.