DVD performances and documentaries range from Swan Lake to postmodern
"...Countdown: Reflections on a Life in Dance, an impressive hourlong documentary about postmodern pioneer Rudy Perez, a Los Angeles-based choreographer since 1978. In 2004, Perez taught his 40-year-old solo, Countdown, to Victor Quijada, a professional dancer and former student of his. Through footage taken of the rehearsals, we learn of the detailed emotional values that Perez prizes, how his aesthetic evolved and the innovations that Countdown reflected. Writer-director-editor Severo Perez (no relation) uses archival clips of varying image quality to supplement the newer material, though everything except Countdown has been so abbreviated that we gain little sense of how Rudy Perez's choreography develops over time - a key element in his artistry. Available from email@example.com, the film will be shown on a number of PBS stations in the spring. Truth-in-reporting disclosure: This writer makes three brief appearances as one of about 20 unpaid interviewees."
Lewis Segal, Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2006
"...Postmodern choreographer Rudy Perez was also on the [Lula Washington Dance Theatre] bill with Shifts, a reworking from 2003, in which five dancers' gambits blossomed from pedestrian moves and arched-back poses into hops and extended balances, suggesting themes of isolation and the randomness of life."
Victoria Looseleaf, Dance Magazine, December 2005
"Rudy Perez's abstract 2004 dance drama DoublePlay begins with a statement about bringing order out of chaos: four men (the elders in the cast) rearranging fallen chairs. However, some 40 minutes later, it warns us - in speech and motion - that our ordered lives and comfortable expectations are slated for demolition, that it's now anything but paranoid to look up at the sky and scream.
Revived or, in Perez's term, "revisited" for the annual three-week multidisciplinary NOW (New Original Works) Festival at the REDCAT on Thursday, DoublePlay uses those non-dancing, task-oriented elders as one texture in its action plan. A group of improvisational guest dancers in bright play clothes adds a sense of imperiled innocence. And Perez's own company (formally dressed) contributes the feeling of growing unease and danger that he conjures from the simplest walking, watching and crawling activities.
Jeff Boynton's score supplies a cornucopia of styles, and the text (drawn from early writings by Gertrude Stein) becomes a structural building block as well as another invitation to link the work to current events.
You might argue that Perez trusts talk too much and movement too little - that it takes too long for significant dancing to begin. But DoublePlay remains genuinely original and accomplished, making it an anomaly on a program otherwise devoted to pieces that stay in the shadow of earlier creations..."
Lewis Segal, Los Angeles Times, July 23, 2005
"...On the other hand, it was difficult not to read the Rudy Perez Performance Ensemble as Gertrude Stein's fathers and sons in the author's story intoned at the top of DoublePlay revisited. Like [Simone] Forti, Perez is a pioneer of postmodernism, unafraid to expand in new directions - here by collaborating with protégé Stefan Fabry. Tethering Stein's verbal repetition to his rigorous architectronics proved to be an exciting marriage. Restrained movement sequences and text resounded with cumulative meaning. Though at times weighed down by ponderous pacing, this sprawling work for 15 dancers thrilled with an energy that embodied the mission of NOW. "
Sara Wolf, Dance Magazine, November 2005, p. 93-94
"Loving the process," an article about Rudy Perez from Dance Magazine.
Victoria Looseleaf, "Loving the process," Dance Magazine, January 2005
"Performance of the Year: Rudy Perez in his bleak yet courageous 'Feeling for Open Spaces, None for Crowded Areas' at the Luckman in September. A pioneer of postmodernism, dancer-choreographer Perez has long used wooden poles for spatial emphasis ever since 1964. But now, at age 72, he is visually impaired and in this unflinching, poignant self-portrait, all those sky-sweeping poles were replaced by a thick red cane—a cane that he tapped on the ground to feel his way through a dark world."
Lewis Segal, Los Angeles Times, December 23, 2001
"[Gertrude] Stein is most famous, perhaps, for the phrase 'A rose is a rose is a rose,' (from Sacred Emily). But clearly, after 40 years of creative and often groundbreaking choreography, a Perez is a Perez is a Perez."
Lewis Segal, "Perez Piece Premieres," Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2004
"What I really wanted to write about today was Rudy Perez, who gave a beautiful concert the same week off-off-Broadway at the Cubiculo. He is one of the quiet experimenters in whose hands I think the future of dance will rest."
Marcia B. Siegal, New York Magazine, March 24, 1969
"Perez's pioneering work began in the '60's at New York's Judson Church, where a group of young choreographers — among them Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs and Yvonne Rainer — were rebelling against the codified technique of modern dance titans Cunningham and Martha Graham."
"Where others — Merce Cunningham, for instance — pit stillness against bursts of virtuoso movement, Perez shades it into minimal movement and back again. His brand of stillness is not so much the temporary absence of movement as the charged potential of it."
"Perez's ability to suspend time within his dances has become a trademark, just as his ability to inhabit the entire space around him, be that an indoor stage or an outdoor plaza."
"His movement could justly be called minimal, but in no way is it casual or natural. Everything unnecessary is stripped from his work, and the bare bones are polished until they gleam."