Steve Paxton

Postmodern dancer, choreographer, and movement innovator; founder of Contact Improvisation

Solo dancing does not exist: the dancer dances with the floor: add another dancer and you have a quartet: each dance with the other and each with the floor.

Born January 21, 1939, Tucson, AZ

Steve Paxton’s influence on and contribution to the postmodern and contemporary dance movements as a dancer, choreographer, and movement innovator has been profound. Paxton was part of José Limón’s company in 1960, and from 1961 to 1964, he danced for Merce Cunningham. His involvement in both Grand Union and Judson Dance Theater established him as a radical and influential artistic innovator. These groups were arguably the most critical influences on the development of postmodern and contemporary dance in the latter half of the twentieth century, shattering and reshaping expectations of dance making and performance. He has received grants from Change, Inc., the Foundation for Performance Arts, John D. Rockefeller Fund, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been awarded two Bessie Awards and is a contributing editor to Contact Quarterly Dance Journal. Paxton is the founder of the movement technique known as Contact Improvisation.

Steve Paxton’s Works