Deborah Hay, legendary choreographer, author and dance visionary was born in Brooklyn. Her mother was her first dance teacher, and directed her training until she was a teenager. She moved to Manhattan in the 1960s, where she continued her training with Merce Cunningham and Mia Slavenska. She joined a group of experimental artists who were influenced by Cunningham and John Cage. The group, later known as Judson Dance Theater, became one of the most radical and explosive art movements of the twentieth century. Her dances range from large scale projects to rarefied and enigmatic solos to Single Duet, which she choreographed for herself and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Hay’s work has now reached a new stage, where she redefines the inimitable choreographic method of her solo pieces in collaboration with highly trained dancers. Hay is the author of 3 books documenting her unique creative process: Moving through the Universe in Bare Feet (Swallow Press, 1975); Lamb at the Altar: The Story of Dance (Duke University Press, 1994) and My Body, the Buddhist (Wesleyan University Press, 2000).
Deborah Hay has collaborated with many artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Lucier, Terry Riley and Australian actor/playwright/director Margaret Cameron. She has been the recipient of several grants and fellowships, including a 1983 Guggenheim Fellowship in choreography, numerous National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowships, and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship in 1996. She received a BESSIE award in 2004 for her choreography The Match, which has toured internationally including London Dance Umbrella and Montpellier Danse, France. Her latest work O,O is in Festival D’Automne, Paris.
“There are aspects of dance performance that I had always accepted as a given. Working with Deborah Hay has deepened my understanding of what we do as dancers. She has helped bring a greater vitality to the stage.”
Photo credit: Rino Pizzi