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Merce Cunningham is remembered by his dancers

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#1 Mme. Hermine

Mme. Hermine

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 02:38 AM

The link was kindly forwarded by kfw (thanks!) Posted Image


The curtain came up, and Merce was standing in the middle of the stage. He had on a yellow leotard, as bright as the sun. There was so much energy, even though he wasn’t doing much, just standing there. The force of this person!

That evening was one of the most unforgettable of my life. You know, like when you find someone you love and you can’t sleep? I was just knocked out. The dancing plus the music — I had never seen anything like it. I saw a kind of clarity and precision and virtuosity, without ego, that was totally focused on the creation of this landscape. They were dancing beyond the borders. It wasn’t just the stage space; it was like this was happening outside the proscenium, before we even saw them.

#2 dirac


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Posted 28 December 2011 - 03:43 PM

rg very kindly sent in this link from Time Out New York in the same vein, with reminiscences from fourteen Cunningham dancers. Excerpt from Robert Swinston's Q&A below.

And where you wanted to be?

Exactly. Even though I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t care. I mean, I figured it out as I went. Just the physical experience was great. And then, there was also the intellectual aspect with John Cage around. It’s not that Merce talked a lot about it, but there was all of this. I had been introduced to John Cage’s work when I was at Middlebury in my music class and Bucky Fuller and Marshall McLuhan—all these kind of things that they were into—and visual arts. That was just fascinating. It was another world that was fully developed and that I didn’t know much about. And also coming to the Cunningham company after all those years as a dancer, there was an instant credibility in the world. Whether people understood it or liked it, it didn’t matter really, but when you went to different places, there were always people that did appreciate it. I received credibility as a dancer after ten years. I was feeling like I was basically nothing, which you can be in New York. I didn’t get a big job like everybody else right away.

#3 kfw


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Posted 30 December 2011 - 12:42 PM

Thanks a lot for that link, rg. It was a foregone conclusion that there would be a wealth of new press coverage this month, but who could expect 14 sizeable interviews in one place?

Macaulay has written about the first two of six final perfomances here: http://www.nytimes.c...&pagewanted=all (For some reason my laptop won't let me post links the usual way), and we can dare to hope he'll be given space for the final two evenings, as he was given space for all three nights at BAM.

I’m sorry that I can’t get up to New York for any of the Park Avenue Armory performances, but I suggested the other day to my Merce-o-phobic wife, who insists they aren’t dancing because they aren’t moving to the music and it isn’t music anyways, that with all my tapes, DVDs and downloads I could mark the company’s end on New Year’s Eve by approximating an Event right here at home with simultaneous showings of different dances on the television, laptop and I-Pad. And wouldn’t my virtual Cunningham Event be more realistic if she would join me for awhile and then walk out? “I’ll be in another room” she said sweetly. I was only joking, but I guess she wasn’t taking any chances. Posted Image

#4 sandik


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Posted 30 December 2011 - 04:31 PM

with all my tapes, DVDs and downloads I could mark the company’s end on New Year’s Eve by approximating an Event right here at home with simultaneous showings of different dances on the television, laptop and I-Pad.

What a fabulous idea (scampering off to check and see what she's got in-house...)

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