1983 marked ADF’s Dance from France series, which featured performances from five modern dance companies. ADF Director Emeritus Charles L. Reinhart remembers, “In France, we saw all this extraordinary stuff. There was a bonanza of French choreographic talent, so we started bringing the companies to ADF.”
Maguy Marin was one of the French choreographers invited to the festival that year. Twenty years later, she received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement. In her speech, she reminisced about that early period of new modern dance in France:
Not until the late ‘70s were new emerging forms given a chance, new forms with revolutionary potential in choreographic art. Modern dance was no longer under the rule of theater, music, or the opera, but finally stood on its own. It could finally enter the dialogue on an equal footing with the other arts.
We wanted… to make of it an art of thought, of freedom, an art that would call into question the conventions which frame and order everything… I was 32 at the time and believed, with a few others, that we could change the world with our dances.
For me, the dance stage is a social space. What happens there is what happens outside. It is a space where the human race plays. The stage is not a place of entertainment; it is the world. What occurs there is important, and we as artists must take responsibility for it.
In today’s 80 Faces video, former chief dance critic of the New York Times Anna Kisselgoff discusses Ms. Marin’s connection with ADF and the festival’s role in introducing international choreographers to new audiences.