Tag Archives: Judson Dance Theater

Vale Elaine Summers: choreographer, screendancer

This was originally posted as an announcement on the International Journal of Screendance website: http://screendancejournal.org/announcement/view/33

Dear Screendance Community,

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Elaine Summers, an original member of Judson Dance Theater and a seminal figure in screendance. She created many important projects in which film and dance shared both live space as well as screen space including the film,

Two Girls Downtown Iowa, (1973)

and Iowa Blizzard, (1973)

Elaine was a part of the first Symposium on Screendance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000 and was instrumental in the earliest days of “intermedia.”

I fondly remember Elaine sitting on the floor at my home during the week of the Screendance Symposium, along with Doris Chase, Amy Greenfield, Daniel Nagrin and others telling stories about their work in an era where resources were scarce but ideas were plentiful. She will be missed.


Douglas Rosenberg

Elaine Summers Bio: (courtesy of Movement Research, NY)

Elaine Summers, MA, Fulbright Fellow, MIT fellow (Center for Advanced Visual Studies) received her BA in Visual Arts in Boston, MA, and came to New York City in 1952 to study dance at Julliard. She worked and lived here ever since and became one of the founders of the by now legendary workshop that would form the Judson Dance Theatre. After her groundbreaking first large-scale intermedia concert “Fantastic Gardens” (1964) she founded the Experimental Intermedia Foundation and continued to produce work both nationally and internationally with her Elaine Summers Dance & Film Co. She received numerous awards and residencies, among others at the University of Iowa. Her work is being studied worldwide and is currently being archived at the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection of Lincoln Center Public Library, with the help of NYU Department of Cinema Studies.

Summers originated the movement approach Kinetic Awareness and has continuously explored and pioneered ways of moving with a healthy body. In 1987 she founded the Kinetic Awareness Center to continue the development and research of the Kinetic Arts & Sciences, as well as train new generations of teachers.

She worked with people as diverse as Trisha Brown, Davidson Gigliotti, Nam June Paik, James Byrne, the Wooster Group, Meredith Monk, Merian Soto, Amy Greenfield, Pauline Oliveros, and many, many others.

Her work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in Sanarcangelo / Italy, Australia, the UK, and Vienna. Her project, Skytime, was a web-based invitation to all the world to celebrate the sky together in any relatable medium. Its first beginnings can be seen at http://www.skytime.org


Tagged , ,