Abraham Remy Charlip was an American artist, writer, choreographer, theatre director, designer and teacher.
In the 1960s Charlip created a unique form of choreography, which he called “air mail dances”. He would send a set of drawings to a dance company, and the dancers would then order the positions and create transitions and context.
I remember him most as a co founder of the Paper Bag Players, one of the most important children’s theatres in the world. He served as head of the Children’s Theater and Literature Department at Sarah Lawrence College, was a winner of two Village Voice Obie Awards, three New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year citations, and was awarded a six-month residency in Kyoto from the Japan/U.S. Commission on the Arts. He wrote and/or illustrated 29 children’s books.
Charlip was the model for illustrations of Georges Méliès in the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret ( if you saw the wonderful movie “Hugo” you know this story), written and illustrated by Brian Selznick.
Great artist. Great loss. Fortunately he left so much behind.
- Remy Charlip, Dancer and Children’s Author, Dies at 83 (nytimes.com)
- Ladies & Gentlemen, It’s Been A While… (heropress.net)
- Dancer, author Remy Charlip dies (sfgate.com)
“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.”
– Merce Cunningham
In 1944, Merce Cunningham, then a dancer in the Martha Graham Company, left to start creating his own dance ideas and never looked back. In 1953 he established the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and, teaming with composer John Cage and artists like Robert Rauschenberg, he completely changed our ideas about dance and staged movement.
Cunningham and Cage, aside from becoming the kind of committed couple that was not discussed in the fifties or sixties, developed a commitment to concepts like chance procedures and the creation of “events.”
Cunningham stopped performing himself after Cage’s death in 1992, but went on to explore dance in technology and animation among other things.