Blondell Cummings

Blondell Cummings, a modern dancer and choreographer who mined everyday experiences like washing, cooking and building to create works celebrated for their rich characterizations and dramatic momentum, died of cancer in August 2015 at age 70. Although she was raised in New York City, she was born in South Carolina where her parents picked cotton. Cummings earned a bachelor’s degree in dance and education from New York University and an MFA from Lehman College. She began her career as an original member of the House, the avant-garde company founded by Meredith Monk in 1968, and she later oversaw her own ensemble and taught at the Lincoln Center Institute, City College of New York, New York University, Cornell University and elsewhere. Cummings’s most famous work was a 1981 solo titled Chicken Soup, rooted in childhood memories of her grandmother at work in the kitchen. Designated as an American masterpiece by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2006, Chicken Soup was performed as part of the Pillow’s Splash Festival in 1989. Cummings had earlier served as both a Pillow faculty member and artist-in-residence in 1984, becoming one of the first to perform her work on the then-new Inside/Out stage. Although there are few records of her dancing widely available, an excerpt from Chicken Soup is now available on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive.
Related Productions
3B49 (excerpts) (dancer)
Chicken Soup (dancer)
Moving Pictures (dancer)
Talking diary (dancer)
Related Works
3B49 (choreographer)
Chicken Soup (choreographer)
Talking diary (choreographer)