Reinventing the past: Rosemary Butcher encounters Allan Kaprow’s 18 Happenings in 6 Parts | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2040-5669
  • E-ISSN: 2040-5677



This article discusses British choreographer Rosemary Butcher’s reinvention process in the context of Allan Kaprow’s 18 Happenings in 6 Parts. It argues that the connection to Kaprow’s first Happening from 1959 was meticulously processed by Butcher on a conceptual level, and that her 2010 reinvention, commissioned and presented at London’s Royal Festival Hall as part of ‘Move: Choreographing You’, was conceptually much closer aligned to Kaprow’s Happening than the actual live work might have suggested. Within this context the article enters established debates around choreographic adaptations and raises questions related to the ways archived performance work might be processed in order to produce ‘new’ signature practice, in Susan Melrose’s terms. It adopts Jean François Lyotard’s notion of the ‘dispositif’, or set-up, in order to explicate Butcher’s reinvention process.


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