For over forty years Rudy Perez has moved, invigorated and perplexed audiences. In the early 1960s he was hailed as a post-modern pioneer when he was a founding member of the groundbreaking Judson Dance Theater in New York City. Today he lives in Los Angeles and defies definition as he continues to create provocative new work.
The documentary follows the engaging give-and-take of the rehearsal of one of Rudy Perez’ signature dances, Countdown. Los Angeles-born and now Montreal-based Victor Quijada, a protégé of Rudy’s, has come to learn and perform the work. Victor graduated from the Los Angeles High School for the Arts. He was a member of the Rudy Perez Dance Ensemble when Twyla Tharp recruited him to join her company in New York. After five years with the Twyla Tharp Dance Company, he joined Montreal’s Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. He currently is the choreographer and Artistic Director of Rubberbanddance Group.
Throughout the rehearsal process, Rudy’s life and career are revealed through evocative home movies, rare stock footage of New York, and visually exciting experimental films. Interviews with dance critics, former dancers and collaborators give a context to Rudy’s impact on the East and West Coast dance scene. Archival videos showcase significant selections from Rudy’s extensive body of work. The documentary concludes with Victor Quijada performing an emotionally-powerful version of Countdown.
This program began as an assignment to produce an eight-minute profile for the Visiones series (Galan Productions), currently airing on PBS stations. The producer and director, Severo Perez and Rachel Perez-Bitan, a father and daughter team, quickly realized that their eight-minute segment was a terrific promo for a longer more fascinating work about Rudy’s life. Los Angeles dance critic Donna Perlmutter wrote, “Countdown, the title of an excellent documentary by Severo Perez (no relation), is that magical amalgam of music, imagery, atmosphere, and powerful movement-suggestion we call drama.”