Yvonne Rainer loves a dare. Back in the 1960s, for example, Rainer responded to Judson Dance Theater co-founder Steve Paxton’s critique of her charismatic stage presence by choreographing the now-paradigmatic “Trio A,” a concatenation of idiosyncratic actions performed with uninflected phrasing and a roving visual focus that rigorously shuns the audience.
More recently, Rainer was invited by Big Dance Theater’s Annie-B. Parson to do “something with Stravinsky.
” That the renowned experimental feminist filmmaker chose to choreograph, after having made only one dance since 1975, says something about her predilection for provocative challenges. That she chose Stravinsky’s “Agon,” composed for George Balanchine’s landmark abstract ballet of the same name, says a whole lot more. “AG Indexical With a Little Help from H.M.” was one of several commissions for the “Sourcing Stravinsky” at New York City’s Dance Theater Workshop but nevertheless the highlight of the concert, what many considered to be the dance world equivalent of the 1974 George Foreman-Muhammed Ali “Rumble in the Jungle.”
But was this indeed a downtown-uptown contest between the minimalist mother of postmodern dance (in the ...