From a program for 2011 American Dance Festival
River was created in 1995 in a small stream in the Catskill Mountains in collaboration with naturalist and sculptor Judd Weisburg. It was premiered that summer in the Delaware River produced by Lafayette College. The National Environmental Performance Network, which co-sponsored both the premiere and subsequent national tour, made it possible for performing art producers to produce River in collaboration with environmental groups and park officials. River usually takes place in a body of moving water at twilight. On occasion it has been performed in lakes and ponds. So far, we have performed River in ten different locations. Only Duke Gardens has had River twice, produced by both ADF (1996) and Duke University (1999). This summer, by special request from Charles, we are happy to revisit the pond to perform River again, celebrating our deep kinship with ADF. As a part of the Retrospective Project, we created a short documentary Dancing in Water: the Making of River, which is viewable at www.eikoandkoma.org/dancinginwater
In working on the Retrospective Project, we found a renewed appreciation of what we have often taken for granted—our history of working together, the ephemerality (and non-materialistic nature) of performance works, and the professional/personal relationships we have built since we came to the US in 1976. We love that no matter how one tries, every performing artist’s work only exists in a particular space and time, in the eyes of an audience, and in the body of a performer. At best what remains is some memories. Our works and their residue have only been created because certain cultural institutions and their curators and directors have produced our work, helping us deliver it to audience members. In this Charles has been a champion. We are more aware than ever of our history with ADF, with its staff, and with Charles and the late Stephanie Reinhart.
2011 marks the 40th anniversary of Eiko & Koma, and the 35th year of our coming to the US. 18 of the summers during those 35 years, Charles (and Stephanie and Jodee) invited us to perform at ADF. Audiences in this town have seen more pieces from us than in any other place except New York. Many young, talented dance students, field professionals, and international dance artists have seen our work here as a part of their ADF experience. Over the years many choreographers, critics, and dancers stopped us in different places to tell us how surprised they were to see our “strange“ work for the first time at ADF. Layers of dance people over the years seeing us dance and connecting with us in different ways is a true gift that Charles has given us.
In addition to presenting us at ADF, Charles has also seen our work by attending almost every New York season since 1983. We cannot imagine any other person but our manager who has seen so many of our works, so deeply, for so long, as Charles. We are deeply grateful. Thank you Charles and everyone at ADF.