Merce Cunningham Living Legacy Plan
Posted 05 January 2012 - 12:33 PM
Posted 05 January 2012 - 05:05 PM
Posted 06 January 2012 - 05:21 PM
Posted 17 January 2012 - 12:49 PM
Review in Artforum on the last Cunningham performances by David Velasco: "End Days"
“Well, so what do you do after you’ve witnessed the end of modern dance?” a friend asked, without a trace of irony. Someone raised a glass. And suddenly it was a new year.
Posted 13 March 2012 - 03:57 PM
Life After Merce
I like the way she addresses both (or all) sides of the discussion. For example:
And then, the inevitable "BUT"
The Cunningham dancers, while conflicted, seem to support the trust’s decision. Silas Riener, who joined the company in 2007—and who danced electrifying solos at the Armory and during the company’s final run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music three weeks earlier—told me that since Merce’s death, he doesn’t “feel like it’s the same kind of pushing boundaries, the way Merce always wanted to move forward. If it went on any longer, I would be stuck. I feel we’re going towards the end.” Daniel Madoff, a dancer with an explosive jump and an intense, deeply innocent stage presence, stressed Cunningham’s tendency to make small adjustments to the dances, to tailor roles to a dancer, which breathed new life into the material. Over the past two years, as older works have been reconstructed for the tour by Swinston and others, the dancers have faced the difficult predicament of having to decide whether to be utterly faithful to past versions of dances—essentially freezing the choreography in time—or to make choices regarding the placement of an arm, the amount of space covered or the timing of a movement that risk obscuring the choreographer’s underlying intentions and thus the work’s integrity. As Madoff put it to me, “Every time I make a decision, I run the risk of maybe doing something Merce wouldn’t have liked.”
My love of dance is related intimately to the way it connects to music. That has always gotten in the way of appreciating Cunningham's work as much as others do, especially after Cunningham "sliced the connection" between composer and choreographer (Joan Acocella's phrase) in the 70s.
But you don't have to warm to a person's work to acknowledge his genius. What will happen to his company -- and to the arrangements that will be made to have his dancers set his works on other companies, or on their own companies -- when the last "Cunningham dancer" is no longer with us?
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