Professor Roger Copeland holds a chair in Theatre and Dance at Oberlin College. His books include the widely used anthology, ‘What Is Dance?’ (Oxford University Press, l983) and ‘Merce Cunningham: The Modernizing of Modern Dance’ (Routledge, 2004). He has just finished writing and directing his first feature length film ‘The Unrecovered’, a fictional narrative about the psychological aftermath of 9/11.
Nothing feels more antithetical to the spirit of dance than Andy Warhol’s legendary mode of disengagement, his desire to remain uninvolved, unmoved, untouched, both emotionally and kinetically. But Warhol exerted a considerable influence on experimental dance during the 1960s—an influence especially visible in the work of the so-called post-modern choreographers who created their most innovative dances under the auspices of The Judson Dance Theatre. Conversely, Warhol himself was undoubtedly influenced (in ways that have yet to be widely acknowledged) by some of the work he is known to have seen at Judson, particularly the early dances of Yvonne Rainer. This paper will examines that reciprocal exchange of influence.