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An offer Yvonne Rainer couldn't refuse

June 21, 2009 |  9:00 am

Yvonne When I asked Yvonne Rainer about her reasons for becoming a choreographer again after spending 25 years making films, she laughed and said the answer was very simple: It’s hard to say “no” to Mikhail Baryshnikov.

 “It was a proposition I couldn’t refuse,” she said of the day when the dancer asked her to create a work for his White Oak Dance Project.

Today, Rainer, an icon of both post-modern dance and avant-garde feminist cinema, finds herself back in the world of her first artistic love. Since resuming her choreographic career in 2000, she has created four new dances, two of which will have their West Coast premieres this week at REDCAT.

Returning to dance, she says, has felt “like coming home. I have always loved working with dancers and as soon as I’m around dancers, the ideas start to flow.” But much has also changed for Rainer since her days as a young radical with the 1960s Judson Dance Theater. Today, the 74-year-old choreographer sees “dance as mortality.”

Read more about Yvonne Rainer and her new dances in Sunday Arts & Books.

-- Susan Josephs

Photo: Yvonne Rainer. Credit: Jennifer S. Altman/For The Times

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