About this publication
At The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (The Center), we envision greater Philadelphia as a widely recognized hub for dynamic cultural experiences, and a place in which creative expression and interpretation, as well as the exchange of ideas, are vital forces in public life. Toward this end, we invest in bold, imaginative arts and heritage projects that showcase the city’s cultural vitality and enhance public life. We also advance the arts and heritage fields by encouraging inquiry among, and providing capacity building opportunities for, our constituents, as well as by sharing and publishing information about adventurous projects or practices. These knowledge-based activities are informed by and integrally related to our work and experience as cultural grantmakers.
A Steady Pulse: Restaging Lucinda Childs, 1963–78 evolved out of our research agenda. Specifically, it advances two complementary lines of Center inquiry. The first is an ongoing investigation into various disciplinary and trans-disciplinary modalities of artistic practice: Artists’ work is foundational to the Center as evidenced through both our Fellowships program and project support for individuals. The second concerns the concepts of restaging, reconstruction, and reenactment, an interest of ours spurred by the number of proposals we have seen that involve the re-presentation of historic work. Among these was the restaging of Lucinda Childs’ Dance (1979), which was awarded a Center grant in 2010. Inspired by this extraordinary performance of an older work, and eager to provide effective capacity-building opportunities for local artists, the Center supported local dancers through advanced training by Lucinda Childs and her creative collaborator Ty Boomershine. This training led to the restaging of the dances presented in this publication, all of which were selected by Childs and critical to her development. Separately but concurrently, we commissioned a series of essays and interviews on restaging for our website, exploring the concept not just in dance but also in heritage, music (re-performance), theater, and the visual arts.
These two strands of our inquiry intersect in A Steady Pulse, which is about both practice and scholarship. It pairs documentation of the performances in Philadelphia with critical texts about Childs’ development as an artist and her and Boomershine’s attitude and approach to restaging. As noted on the home page, it also includes a plentiful archive of photographs, flyers, and programs—most of it from Childs’ personal collection—as well as the choreographer’s own scores, one of which has been fully animated. Our hope is that in addition to serving as a valuable resource for future scholars of postmodern dance, A Steady Pulse will contribute significantly to the ongoing dialogue around how we, as a society, value and preserve the legacies of our most significant artists.
Finally, A Steady Pulse is the fourth and final installment in the danceworkbook series produced by the Center. The danceworkbook series establishes a body of reference material concerned with interrogating a variety of choreographic processes—stages of creation and development that form the “back story” to the finished dances that audiences see in performance. Preceding volumes in the series are: BRAIDING / UNBRAIDING / REBRAIDING: Headlong Dance Theater, which examines artistic process in collaboration with Tere O’Connor; BELONGING AND SOLO: Roko Kawai: An Artist’s Workbook; and Susan Foster! Susan Foster! Three Performed Lectures. The danceworkbooks are part of a larger Center publishing effort, which includes a number of print anthologies, including What Makes a Great Exhibition?, Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World, and Pigeons on the Grass Alas: Conversations with Curators about the Field.