Baryshnikov praises Pam Tanowitz


It’s whippped cream — dolloped onto Pam Tanowitz Dance receiving the Baryshnikov Art Center’s Cage Cunningham Award. It’s the high praise BAC Artistic Director Mikhail Baryshnikov gave in noting the ‘distinct intellectual journey’ of the choreographer’s work.

“We have followed Pam’s work throughout the years, and are greatly impressed with her intelligence, determination, and the skill of her company. Like many artists, she is inspired by the legacy of Merce and John, and she reflects their spirit of collaboration and experimentation.

Yet, her work is not an imitation of dance history , but is a distinct intellectual journey .”


The Cage Cunningham Fellowship includes $50,000 distributed over two years in support of the Fellow’s work, access to the John Cage & Merce Cunningham Studio in the Center’s far-Westside location, and administrative support.

Tanowitz is the second-only artist to receive this award, which she will apply to the development of a new evening-length work, “Four Quartets,” a staging of T.S. Eliot’s poem by the same name in collaboration with composer Kaija Saariaho.

We have not seen Tanowitz’s company, now 15 years old, in Los Angeles. I think Royce Hall would be a wonderful venue for the company or the Wallis with its good sightlines for dance. I wrote briefly about Tanowitz’s choreography for a group of Juilliard students here.

This might also be a nice moment to revisit the audio recording from 2008 in which Baryshnikov expresses his admiration of Cunningham, whom he calls “the greatest choreographer of our time.”

photo credit: tanowitz and shoe portrait, thank you Grace and Steel.

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