An improvisational group that was equal parts brash and serene, the Grand Union blazed through intimate, happenstance performances for six years. Downtown audiences of young dancers, artists, and musicians couldn’t get enough of them.

In this virtual talk, Wendy Perron, author of the new book, The Grand Union: Accidental Anarchists of Downtown Dance, 1970–1976, will show rare clips of their sessions. Choreographer Douglas Dunn, who recently appeared at NYU Skirball in The Road Awaits Us, was a member of Grand Union and joins Wendy in watching, guessing, and explaining the context of these sometimes wayward, sometimes brilliant performances. The footage includes Douglas as well as other members of GU like Trisha Brown, David Gordon, Steve Paxton, Barbara Dilley, and Yvonne Rainer.

Wendy Perron teaches the graduate seminar at NYU Tisch Dance and also dance history at Juilliard. As a dancer/choreographer in the 1970s–1990s, she performed at Lincoln Center Festival, The Joyce, Danspace and other venues. A former editor in chief of Dance Magazine, she published a selection of her writing Through the Eyes of a Dancer, in 2013. She now posts articles, including the new series “Unsung Heroes of Dance History,” at WENDYPERRON.COM.

Douglas Dunn is a New York based dancer and choreographer working internationally since 1968. Following duet, solo, and film work,  he formed Douglas Dunn + Dancers in 1978, and in 1980 set Stravinsky’s Pulcinella on the Paris Opera Ballet. In 1998 he was awarded a New York Dance & Performance Award for Sustained Achievement, and in 2008 was honored by the French government as Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He teaches Open Structures at NYU Steinhardt and presents Salons at his studio at 541 Broadway in Manhattan. Dancer Out of Sight, his book of collected writings, is available at

Co-sponsored by the NYU Tisch Department of Dance.

Made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts, Howard Gilman Foundation, Collins Building Services, Consolidated Edison, DuBose & Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund, Harkness Foundation for Dance, and Marta Heflin Foundation.

Watch Now:

Wendy Perron
Wendy Perron; photo by Da Ping Luo
Douglas Dunne in a hat, on a barre, holding the hand of a woman, with a small crowd beneath him.
Douglas Dunn
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Douglas Dunn in Forest Fever, 1987, photo by Susan Dunn.