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Wendy Perron Papers

Call Number



1973-2001, inclusive


Perron, Wendy (Role: Donor)
Perron, Wendy


2 Linear Feet in 1 manuscript box and 1 oversize flat box

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


Perron wrote reviews for The Soho Weekly News and focused on a range of experimental performance practices that flourished in New York during the late 1970s. Being knowledgeable of the historical circumstances under which experimental "performance art" emerged in New York, she was among the earliest critics to write about this then new genre combining thick description and critical analysis. This collection consists of clippings of articles Perron wrote for The Soho Weekly News from 1976-1978, as well as programs, flyers, and other ephemera from dance performances in the 1970s-1980s.

Biographical Note

Wendy Perron is a dancer, teacher, writer, and author of Through the Eyes of a Dancer (Wesleyan University Press, 2013). She started her career as a dancer and choreographer in New York in the early 1970s. A member of the Trisha Brown Company from 1975 to 1978, she also danced for such choreographers as Kenneth King, Rudy Perez, Sara Rudner, and Twyla Tharp. She choreographed more than 40 pieces for the Wendy Perron Dance Company from 1983 from 1997. From 1976 to 78 she wrote for, and at times edited, the "Concepts in Performance" page of the Soho Weekly News. Perron has also written for the New York Times, the Village Voice, Dance Europe, and Dance Magazine, where she was editor in chief from 2004 to 2013.

Since the 1970s, Perron has taught aspects of dance at Bennington, Princeton, NYU, City College of New York, and Rutgers and has been a guest teacher, lecturer, or adjudicator, across the country. In 2011 she was the first dance artist inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts Hall of Fame. Currently she teaches a graduate seminar in the dance department of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She also writes commentary for her own website at


Arranged in two series:

Series I. Concepts in Performance

Series II. Performance Notes and Ephemera

Scope and Content Note

The Wendy Perron Papers (dated 1973-2001) consist of a collected run of Perron's "Concepts in Performance" column, published in The Soho Weekly News from 1976-1978, as well as programs, flyers, and other ephemera from dance performances in the 1970s and 1980s. In her column, Perron reviews a range of experimental performance practices that flourished in New York during the late 1970s. Among these are Steve Paxton's Contact Improvisation, Laurie Anderson's sound performances involving electric violin, Trisha Brown's Accumulation pieces, and Merce Cunningham's integrations of dance, music, and theatre. Other artists and ensembles whose performances Perron reviews are John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Michael Kirby, Jackson Mac Low, Meredith Monk, Yvonne Rainer, Stuart Sherman, Squat Theatre, and Robert Wilson.

Perron is among the earliest critics to write about the genre known as "Performance Art." In the 1970s, "Performance Art" came to designate experimental forms of embodied expression that fell outside the conventional categories of theatre, dance, or music. Her writing combines thick description and critical analysis, a combination which not only allows readers to visualize the performances that occurred, but also sheds light on the aesthetic, political, and theoretical issues underlying a given piece. Moreover, she is knowledgeable about the historical circumstances under which performance art emerged in New York and thus is able to identify the central characteristics informing performance art of the 1970s and to distinguish it from 1960s experimental theatre.


Perron, Wendy

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use materials in the collection in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Wendy Perron Papers; MSS 123; box number; folder number; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University Libraries.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired through donation from Wendy Perron in December 2001 and June 2019; the accession numbers associated with these gifts are 2001.123 and 2019.035.

Separated Material

There is no information about materials that are associated by provenance to the described materials that have been physically separated or removed.

Related Material at the Fales Library and Special Collections

Please see the Judson Memorial Church Archive for related materials pertaining to Performance Art of the 1960s and 1970s. The Judson Memorial Church was a theatrical 'home base' for many (though by no means all) of the performance artists and ensembles whose work Perron reviews in her column.

Judson Memorial Church Archive (MSS.094)

Robert Alexander Papers (MSS.114)

Collection processed by

Theresa Smalec

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 17:11:32 -0400.
Language: Description is in English.

Revisions to this Guide

July 2019: Record updated to reflect 2019 accretion

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from Perron finding aid.doc


Fales Library and Special Collections
Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
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