Calico Mingling, a 1973 dance by Lucinda Childs that took place outdoors at Robert Moses Plaza in Fordham University, is recorded in a grainy ten-minute black and white film. Seen from a distance, and sometimes from above like chess pieces on a board, four dancers march backward and forward, raising and lowering their arms. In the photos, others performers are sometimes caught frozen in midair, while the slide show is a shifting succession of static photographic objects.
Structurally dissecting their movements, these artists replaced emotional expression with simple actions that people perform every day -- walking, sitting and running in ordinary clothes. Almost 40 years later, some of the performance sites have disappeared, and the people seen dancing are now on the verge of growing old. They strived to make dance quotidian, but time makes everything unique. The past can never be ordinary.