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NEW YORK, February 14, 2019 — As part of its focus on empowering young women to become even more exceptional, Barnard College announced today that dance, choreography and film legend Yvonne Rainer has been named its Lida A. Orzeck ’68 Distinguished Artist-in-Residence for 2019. Rainer, an enormously influential figure who has challenged conventional forms and genres for nearly six decades, will begin her one-year residency in Spring 2019, kicking off with screenings of three of her films, which Rainer will introduce. She will also lead an intensive workshop on April 6-7, “Texts / Objects / Movement: Metaphors for Performance,” in which students will explore the creative process through exercises based on her work. In Fall 2019, she will set one of her dances with Barnard students for Barnard/Columbia Dances, as well as participate in various classes, including a seminar about experimental performance that focuses on Rainer’s creative output and its enduring legacy. Yvonne Rainer is the third Orzeck Artist-in-Residence, following the visual artist Toyin Ojih Odutola and world-renowned dancer Wendy Whelan.

Yvonne Rainer, “Trio A” (1966)“We are honored that Yvonne Rainer will be a part of the Barnard community for the next year,” said Barnard College Provost and Dean of the Faculty Linda Bell. “A pioneer in avant-garde art, Rainer will give students a unique opportunity to engage with challenging material and interact with a legend.”

As a founder of Judson Dance Theater in 1962, Rainer transformed the performing body, pioneering a task-oriented approach to movement that paralleled the earthbound aesthetic of minimalist sculpture. Her “Trio A” (1966) remains the quintessential “postmodern” dance. Her equally innovative films, which she began to create in 1972, reject linear narrative and identification with actors. In keeping with the goals of second-wave feminism, her films combine the personal with the political, including themes such as racism, gender and sexuality. Rainer received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1990. She returned to dance in 2000, producing works such as After Many a Summer Dies the Swan for Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, ongoing versions of “Trio A,”explorations of the aging body, and witty homages to avant-garde figures Sergei Diaghilev, Igor Stravinsky and George Balanchine. 

“I anticipate a great experience from this residency, and am grateful to Ms. Orzeck for her support of the arts and arts education,” said Yvonne Rainer. “I look forward to meeting Barnard students, learning from them and showing them new ways into the creative process.” 

In March 2015, Lida Orzeck, Ph.D., endowed The Lida A. Orzeck ’68 Distinguished Artist-in-Residence Fund with a substantial gift. Orzeck is the cofounder of Hanky Panky, a lingerie company that manufactures exclusively in the United States and currently employs more than 165 people. She currently serves on the Barnard Board of Trustees and has given generously to the College over the years, including a scholarship fund in her name, support to the annual Athena Film Festival and many other initiatives.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons“Rainer’s work has been enormously influential, and I am so pleased and honored to have my name connected to hers,”

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