Research Catalog

Title
  • Interview with Judith Ren-Lay. May 3, 6, and 10 2016.
Author
Ren-Lay, Judith,
Publication
2016.

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FormatAccessStatusCall NumberLocation
AudioSupervised useUse in library*MGZMT 3-3334Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance

Details

Additional Authors
Kitto, Svetlana,
Description
[6] streaming files (approximately 4 hours and 43 minutes) : digital +
Alternative Title
  • Dance audio archive
  • Dance oral history project
Subjects
Genre/Form
  • Oral histories.
  • Sound recordings.
Note
  • Interview with Judith Ren-Lay conducted by Svetlana Kitto, on May 3, 6, and 10, 2016, in New York City, for The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division Oral History Project.
  • For transcript see *MGZMT 3-3334.
  • As of September 2018 only the transcript of the audio recording of this interview is available. The audio files for this interview are undergoing processing and will be available for streaming in NYPL's Digital Collections in the near future.
  • Sound quality is excellent.
  • Title supplied by cataloger.
Access (note)
  • Transcripts may be photographed or reproduced for non-commercial purposes only.
Funding (note)
  • The creation and cataloging of this recording was made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The support of the National Endowment for the Arts is also gratefully acknowledged.
Call Number
*MGZMT 3-3334
OCLC
1050178655
Author
Ren-Lay, Judith, interviewee.
Title
Interview with Judith Ren-Lay. May 3, 6, and 10 2016.
Imprint
2016.
Type of Content
spoken word
text
Type of Medium
unmediated
audio
Type of Carrier
online resource
volume
Restricted Access
Transcripts may be photographed or reproduced for non-commercial purposes only.
Event
Recorded for the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts May 3, 6, and 10, 2016 New York (N.Y.)
Summary
Streaming audio file 1, May 3, 2016 (approximately one hour and 27 minutes). Judith Ren-Lay speaks with Svetlana Kitto about her family and childhood in Denver, Colorado, including early musical and dance influences; her maternal grandfather (Dr. Earl Haas) and his influence on her life and work including The grandfather tapes; her father; her singing, in church and school choirs; the deep influence movies have had on her work; her aptitude for dancing and gymnastics since early childhood; auto-didacticism as one of her defining character traits; her time at the University of Colorado including her acting and dancing; her first husband and their married life; her work as a physical education instructor; her first formal dance training, with Ernestine Stodelle; leaving her husband and living on her own; studying at the University of Maryland with Dorothy Madden; teaching dance in New Haven (Conn.) while taking classes with Merce Cunningham and Viola Farber in New York City; her life in New York City after leaving her second husband; the beginning of her association with Gus [Solomons jr] and his company [Gus Solomons Company/Dance]; Viola Farber as a teacher; her time with Gus Solomons jr at Cal Arts [California Institute of the Arts]; beginning to create her own work.
Streaming file audio 2, May 6, 2016 (approximately 7 minutes). Judith Ren-Lay speaks with Svetlana Kitto about her first formal dance training, with Ernestine Stodelle, and how Stodelle opened her eyes to the dance world, past and present.
Streaming file audio 3, May 6, 2016 (approximately 14 minutes). Judith Ren-Lay speaks with Svetlana Kitto about her reasons for leaving Gus Solomon jr's company; her tendency to rely on her instincts in making career decisions; her work Hot cloud mountain; her subsequent work Where the fishnet hose sunk deep-cut into the purple naval of my cabbage sandwich; bricolage as a way to describe her composition method.
Streaming file audio 4, May 6, 2016 (approximately 46 minutes). Judith Ren-Lay speaks with Svetlana Kitto about her life after moving to New York City; her strong creative drive; becoming better known as a performance artist than as a dancer; her creative process including her view that it is the audience's role not hers to decide what a work invokes [Ren-Lay reads aloud an excerpt from Gertrude Stein's writings to illustrate Ren-Lay's ideas about her own work]; discovering her feminist self and participating in the WOW (Women of the World) festivals; performing her "cracked cabaret acts" in Europe; performing at the Warren Street Performance Loft; her continuing creative development and some of the works that resulted; collaborators including the lighting designer Howard Thies; more on her experiences as a performer in Europe including audience responses; her time in [the former] West Berlin; her father's death and funeral including an anecdote about her discovery of the power of negative assertiveness; her realization that financial support for her work was available, for example The grandfather tapes.
Streaming file audio 5, May 6, 2016 (approximately 27 minutes). Judith Ren-Lay speaks with Svetlana Kitto about working with performance artists with whom she felt an affinity, including at PS122 [Performance Space 122; now Performance Space New York]; works from this period including Categories of unrest (performed on the roof of Riverside Church) and Stake; the work Minor venom, created after she returned from Europe; her work The grandfather tapes; returning to Colorado to care for her mother and becoming involved with the arts scene in Denver; works arising from her mother's death, including Rituals, Warrior hostess, and When it gets too dark to read; her bout with major heart surgery and nearly dying from the complications (in 1989).
Streaming file audio 6, May 10, 2016 (approximately 1 hour and 32 minutes). Judith Ren-Lay speaks with Svetlana Kitto about her 1988 solo work Psyche's crib including its theme of transformation; her work To the beat of impossible causes, which was inspired by her near-death experience after heart surgery; her career in the 1990s including a residency at the University of Colorado in Denver; her teaching including the reasons she would not want to teach as a career; her modus operandi of making a work first and then finding a venue; the series of solo works she created during this period including Foot/tongue/web, performed at St. Mark's Church [Danspace Project] and Undercurrent events, performed at PS122; the ad hoc nature of the funding of her works; performing her songs at the Knitting Factory; musical commissions becoming the focus of her career including her participation in Michael Dorf's project Loud music/silent film; the production of her music album, in 2002; her sister's death in the same year; her photographic collages; the generally positive critical response to her work; more on her ad hoc funding and lack of financial security; possible reasons why her work did not achieve greater recognition and more stable funding; the transformation she experiences in the course of performing a work; her sense that her works often expressed a zeitgeist that was ahead of its time; her photographs of the moon on the New Jersey shore and her work Dances with light; her thoughts on the performance art community in the 1990s including her feeling of being an outsider; artists she admires; her life after she was hit by a taxi in 2011 and was bedridden for years; the AIDS crisis and the toll it took on her personal circle, including the loss of George Osterman of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company; inspirations and influences including the Ridiculous Theatrical Company; her own life as the biggest source of material for her work; various jobs she took in order to support herself; her current economic situation and her uncertainty about the future; her plan to write a memoir; her experience of 9/11 [September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001] including its influence on her political awareness and on her musical and spoken word works.
Funding
The creation and cataloging of this recording was made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The support of the National Endowment for the Arts is also gratefully acknowledged.
Connect to:
Added Author
Kitto, Svetlana, interviewer.
Added Title
Dance oral history project
Dance audio archive
Research Call Number
*MGZMT 3-3334
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