- Category : Entertainment-Actor-Actress
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (20)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Service 2
American dancer, actress and post-modern choreographer, known for her transfixing presence on stage and an uncanny ability to attract and hold an audience. She took drama from age 11 followed by dance lessons and majored in dance at Sarah Lawrence College. During four years with the Judson Dance Theater, she created 13 pieces of her own. Childs formed her own company of five dancers including herself with a debut 12/07/1973 at a sold-out concert in New York. She has appeared in the avant-garde opera "Einstein on the Beach," two off-Broadway plays and in several films.
Born to a physician father and his wife, Lucinda Eustis Corcoran Childs dreamed of becoming an actress. Throughout her school years, she appeared regularly in student productions, and began taking drama lessons at age 11. She enrolled in dancing class at the suggestion of her acting coach, and became more attracted to dance than acting. After she graduated from high school, she entered Sarah Lawrence College where she majored in dance, and took classes during college vacation at the New York studio of Merce Cunningham, whose experiments in isolated movements fascinated her.
Childs received her B. A. degree in 1962, and continued her modern dance studies and classical ballet training as well. At Cunningham’s studio, she met Yvonne Rainer, an iconoclastic choreographer whose work appealed to her. Rainer asked Childs to join the fledging Judson Dance Theater, an experimental troupe, and she spent four years with the group. During that time, she created 13 pieces of her own, most of them solos relating common domestic objects to movement. Examples included such exercises as physically interpreting and playing off the sounds of a taped broadcast of a professional football game.
"Street Dance," 1964, is perhaps the most famous of her compositions. At the end of the ‘60s, Childs put the "Judson period" behind her and from 1968 to 1973, she experimented on her own, studying visual arts and education and polishing her classical ballet technique. She received her M.S. degree in education from the City College of New York in 1971. To defray expenses, she modeled, taught elementary students in the New York City public school system, conducted dance technique workshops, served as a guest teacher in choreography at the School of Visual Arts and wrote articles on dance for such publications as "Dance," "Artforum," and "Drama Review."
To match her interest in the "time-space" element of dance as a performing art, Childs moved into a geometric and bare-bones structure for her home. She formed her own company of five dancers, including herself, in 1973.
On 12/07/1973, she presented her new company and work to a sold-out concert at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. In a handful of recitals over the next few years, she attracted a cult following and admiration of the fringe press. Lauded for her stunning stage presence, she assumed a variety of characters and performances. In June 1982 she opened in a Manhattan Theater Club, though the critics were not impressed with this performance.
In the late 1970s, she created new dances, buoyed by production funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. On 12/01/1979, she premiered one of her works at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Opera House, which played to an unusually irritable audience that booed loudly or walked out.
Childs is the recipient of several awards and honors, including grants from the Foundation for the Contemporary Performance Arts in 1968 and the Creative Arts Public Service in 1974 and 1977, plus a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1974.