In 1966, Yvonne Rainer changed the world of modern dance with her performance ‘Trio A’ by analysing the repertoire of human movement in a radically unspectacular way. Influenced by Merce Cunningham and John Cage, she developed socio-political choreographies in which she explored on stage everyday movements in a way that deliberately thwarted audience expectations. Determined not to appear biddable, she began experimenting with film – applying to the new medium the same revolutionary impetus that was to be found in her body work. At the age of 56 she came out as a lesbian, and in 1997 she won the Teddy Award with MURDER and murder.
Making abundant use of film excerpts, archive footage and reinterpretations of Rainer’s choreographies, director Jack Walsh succeeds in illustrating the artistic development of an unswerving yet likeable avant-gardist – from the 1950s to the present day. Complementing Rainer’s own recollections are contributions from dance experts and fellow-travellers such as Carolee Schneeman and B. Ruby Rich. Today, aged 80, she is still working on the stage, after Mikhail Baryshnikov persuaded her to make a belated comeback as a choreographer in the year 2000.