Judson Dance Theater

Al Giese’s photograph of David Gordon in Gordon’s _Random Breakfast_. Performed at _Concert of Dance #7_, Judson Memorial Church, June 24, 1963. © Estate of Al Giese/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

David Gordon. Random Breakfast. 1963 290

Al Giese’s photograph of David Gordon in Gordon’s Random Breakfast. Performed at Concert of Dance #7, Judson Memorial Church, June 24, 1963. © Estate of Al Giese/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

ANA JANEVSKI: Random Breakfast was a five-part dance that unfolded as a series of comic scenarios performed by choreographer David Gordon and dancer Valda Setterfield. The performance involved multiple costume changes, with Setterfield performing a striptease, and Gordon, in drag, reenacting a TV appearance by comedian Milton Berle.

DAVID GORDON: There were all those Upper East Side thrift shops. and I came home to Valda and I said look at this, this is a 1930s dress and hat—you wanna’ wear this and take it all off? And here's a black velvet skating costume with a white fur trim. We’ll make a skating section.

VALDA SETTERFIELD: I had come to America to find out what this great dance scene was. And so suddenly I was being asked to do things like putting a pie in my face and saying shit and fuck. I had been to the theater a lot. I had been to English Music Halls. I'd never been to a strip tease or anything like that. But it never occurred to me not to do them. So, I said, yes, yes, of course.

DAVID GORDON: The most important thing about that piece is it isn't a duet. There are two solos because I don't know how to make a duet. I have no idea. So I make what she's going to do and I make what I'm going to do and then I say, you know, you could do that at the same time as I'm doing this.

I am not inventing circumstances out of nowhere. At this point the thing I know most in the world is television. I have never been in a museum. I have never been in a theater. I know nothing except what I know, and that's what I use in Random Breakfast.

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