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Suzanne Trouve Feff

A new Web site collects the writings of the late dance journalist Burt Supree


Photo Booth of Burt Supree.

Burt Supree, Dance editor of the Village Voice, suddenly died of a heart attack in 1992 on the platform of the subway station at 14th Street and 8th Avenue in New York. He was only fifty-one years old. A dance reviewer from 1976 to 1992, Supree wrote with passion during sixteen years at the Voice, until his career unexpectedly stopped.

In honor of this excellent writer, in 2009 his friends and colleagues created a Web site, www.burtsupree.com, to preserve his work and pay tribute to Supree. You can find two decades of his wonderful work, his biography, moving pictures of him and his friends, and his unpublished poetry. It is also an opportunity to discover or rediscover more than five hundred reviews written by Supree for the Village Voice.

No one can describe the character of Burt Supree better than his friends and colleagues. Joan Acocella wrote, "His reviews were humane, witty and commonsensical. He was a well-loved editor and also a valuable member of the Bessie Awards committee, where he spoke sparingly and was always listened to. While extraordinarily modest, Burt was also very firm in his opinions, very independent-minded. Without his large, warm, quiet, wise presence, utterly decent, slightly inscrutable, the world will seem noisier and colder."

In March 2009, an event was organized among the Bennington, Williams and Sarah Lawrence College communities to share Burt Supree's works. Deborah Jowitt, a long-standing Village Voice dance critic and choreographer, gave a presentation.

A few years ago, the idea of creating this Web site emerged among friends of Burt Supree who wanted to see his work published. Marta Renzi (a Downtown New York choreographer and filmmaker), June Ekman, the Dance Divison at the Lincoln Center Library (Madeline Nichols), Lauria Uprichard (Danspace Project at St Marks) and a lot of others, make this project become possible, although a Web site was deemed more practical than a printed publication.

Marta Renzi, one of the initiators of the project, is author of www.martarenzi.blogspot.com. As a choreographer, she has created more than 75 dances for her Project Company. She has also produced films since 1981 including six short video-dances, which have been shown at film festivals nationally and internationally. Renzi and Burt Supree became friends after he wrote a feature story on her in 1981. Renzi says, "We liked each other immediately."

Various choreographers have added remembrances since the creation of the Web site and there is a thread on Facebook where numerous choreographers who miss his reviews have testified to their admiration for Supree's work.

To learn more about Burt Supree, or just for the pleasure of rereading his work, visit www.burtsupree.com.

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