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  1. Thank you for your posts and your passion and your knowledge, Simon. What a pleasure to read them. I just want to add that Merce choreographed other pieces, very early on, "to" music. He loved Satie. And since you love Roaratorio, you might enjoy this Mondays with Merce about the current revival and its first performances at Disney Hall in Los Angeles. It shows film of the original cast, including Merce, and ends with extended excerpts from the first performance there. The soundscore is from the original, with John Cage reading. Mondays with Merce 013 Re: Roaratorio The fall Cunningham season in London will be wonderful, and I hope to see you there. Also, consider jumping over to Paris for that last season there, it is the last repertory performance season before the final Events. Nancy Dalva producer/writer Mondays with merce nancy@merce.org
  2. As the Event I saw in 2003 in Richmond, Virginia, the audience was seated. Perhaps it was just an event. I hope to have seats again in February, for what will be another E/event. Here is a link to a review, with photos, of the Event Christian attended. There are "site specific" Events, and also Events presented in proscenium theaters--that came later. The Event in February should be beautiful. To see more about Cunningham Events, and to hear Merce talk about them and see him staging one at the Dia:Beacon Museum (with footage from several Events there), see Mondays with Merce 007 Cunningham Events
  3. You did not see "Coast Zone" in Miami, that is an older work out of repertory. It might have been easier for you to approach the Event as a kind of living museum experience, and enjoyed the freedom to see the dancers as you chose, walking about, taking them in according to your won direction. Speaking of direction, I can assure you that the Event was entirely a choreographed affair, staged by Robert Swinston, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company's Director of Choreography after Merce's death, and before that the Assitant to the Choreographer for decades. That might not make you like it any better, it really does not matter, but to suggest that there is no choreography might mislead someone reading this thread. You began by wanting to know more about Merce Cunningham. If you watch "Classtime at Westbeth" or "Cunningham on Technique," two of the programs in the free webseries "Mondays with Merce," you will see sections of class (with the company), with Merce teaching. There you will note the ballet technique that you love (though not a barre, and no pointe shoes) used as the base for Cunningham's own technique. Just watch the warm up and it will feel quite familiar to you. If you start out from a stance of familiarity, you will probably appreciate the whole thing more. There is nothing wrong with wanting to see what you love over and over, and some of what you love is in Merce's work. You just have to unclutter your mind and look. Here is a link to a page which lists all of the Mondays with Merce episodes now on line: http://merce.org/about/mwm_archive.php Simon,perhaps we might meet somewhere along the Legacy Tour. Nancy Dalva producer/writer Mondays with Merce nancy@merce.org
  4. Hi Sandi! Yes, Mark was a very vivid interview. And very generous.
  5. I know it is confusing the article is in there---BAM uses program articles more as advances to interest audiences in future events than as program notes. And don't apologize! I am thrilled you read it and liked it---it is part of a much longer interview. You can see more of it on Mondays with Merce next week---in the upcoming episode. Here's the info: You can find out more about Mark Morris's "Socrates," as he is calling it ( and also "Behemoth," also on that program and his only work made without music ) on the next Mondays with Merce, The Legacy, "Mr Cunningham and Mr Morris, with guest artist Mark Morris" Mondays with Merce homepage. This series of webcasts (or webisodes_as they are called) is on line and free to all to see.
  6. I have to find that article---I haven't seen it in print--but I will just point out right away that the Mark Morris Dance Company is NOT part of the Bridge Project (Shakespeare in rep) but has its own season in February at BAM, in the Howard Gilman Opera House. (www.bam.org) (www.mmdg.org) "Socrates," as Mark Morris calls his dance is on a bill with a revival of Behemoth and also a NY premiere, "Looky." Best to all Ballet Talkers, and thanks for the "shout out!" Nancy Dalva
  7. So maybe the idea of his works being in a different form, being archived and licensed, and as video records, the body of them going through a true "sea change" is not such a recent one. Or maybe he doesn't quite know, and is moving towards some resolution, but nonetheless is in sly control, as people who set up trusts--at least in novels--often are. When the great Polish director Tadeusz Kantor died, his company did a final tour, then disbanded, leaving memories of his work cleanly intact. The filmmaker who worked with Merce is Charles Atlas.
  8. Actually the photo is current, shot by a photographer shooting for The Miami Herald to accompany reviews of MCBallet's New York City Center season. The Observer went to some pains to acquire it, bless their hearts. While many papers do use only provided photos, others use a mix of their own and provided (New York Times), favoring their own whenever possible. If companies do not hold photo shoots (frequently part of a final dress rehearsal), obviously there won't be current photos. Oh. I wrote the review (for those who don't know my old nom de web.)
  9. Thank you so much! If you are a facebook user, join the Mondays with Merce group---I send updates on all the programs. We're working on 003 now...
  10. First of all--the third episode will be up NEXT Monday, Feb. 9. The webpage will be changed to reflect this. Sorry---that was the date of the second episode. Second, I think our web streaming issues are now solved. Hurray! Staring this next Monday, you should have no trouble viewing Mondays with Merce on your computer, no matter your connection, band width, etc. We had much more traffic than anticipated (!!) (thanks, Ballet Talk!!!) and are trying to be responsive to everyone's viewing "issues." Thanks for this post. I am so so pleased to have Ballet Talkers viewing Mondays with Merce. Write to me at nancy@merce.org with any comments, viewing problems, or anything at all, and I will respond as soon as I can. Thanks Carbro! xox, Nancy Dalva producer/writer Mondays with Merce Mondays with Merce
  11. Wendy herself was a pretty good choreographer, in the June Taylor Dancers vein. I saw a fun kick line she put together for an early playlet called "When Dinah Shore Ruled the Earth." . I am not good at links, but there is a comprehensive obit in the New York Times. It gets her age wrong--56 not 55)--and it's wrong that the tv broadcast of Uncommen Women was a breakthough role for Meryl Streep. Meryl was already an ascending star--when ever was she not?--and was the "name" in the broadcast. The actress who most accurately enbodied Wendy on stage was her friend from the Yale School of Drama Alma Cuervo, who played the Streep part originally. Of course Streep was wonderful, but so was Cuervo---and so were so many other actresses in Wendy Wasserstein's plays. Actors too, but men were the foils. Friends have noted that she was beloved by all who knew her, and open-heartedly loving in return.
  12. http://www.danceviewtimes.com/2005/Spring/05/nycb3.htm Above is for review of opening, in DanceViewTimes. The writer was not overjoyed.
  13. Kyra Nicols comes to mind, with her exquiste and variable phrasing, and her constantly energized port de bras. I think the way to see this quality in a Balanchine dancer the most easily is to watch the bouree. If a dancer phrases that, she phrases everything.
  14. I think Merce would agree with that! Paul, that guy who starts and ends Sounddance was Merce himself ( his part is now danced by Robert Swinston). The curtain/set is by Mark Lancaster...It happens that Merce was also the last person seen in Pictures. Remember the end, Merce standing there holding Trish Lent across his body? And Fendrock, I don't quite know how, but even without music, or decor, even with chance, Merce's dances still have the clearest structures, and are still astoundingly complex. I think a way to think about them would be to think about Cezanne, and his paintings, particularly of Mont St. Victoire. That kind of art. This is absolutely my favorite topic in the world....and I don't think you get a great idea of the work from that film. It makes Merce sound kind of flaky in places, and he is anything but.
  15. Working backwards on your post: I'm glad you are still interested, and will try to address your reactions and question. First, what you are missing is the experience of the dance in performance, by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. I don't know which documentary you saw, but I do suggest you see the company when you can, and let us know what you think. Second, these are not gimmicks. They are a philosophy. At the time Merce Cunningham and John Cage started collaborating, more than 50 years ago, their ideas were quite radical.The notion of dance and decor and music being separate means that movement is sufficient onto itself, not needing these other elements. Next, chance does not generate the choreography. Rather, it is used at some point, or point, in the making of dances to determine discrete elements---such as how many dancers enter, for one possible example. The work is not improvised whatsoever, and it is not being determined as it is performed. Among the reasons for using chance stated by Mr Cunningham's, a desire to make choices outside his own frame of reference is primary. Finally, I don't know exactly what was meant in the documentary about "natural" movement. Merce Cunningham is inspired by the natural world--by birds, by cats, etc.--and also has always been a keen observer of humans. However, his technique, which combines elements of the classical, specifically in the lower body, with a whole additional use of the torso, augmented in recent years by additional refinements, is complex, demanding, and requires highly trained dancers. Many of the Cunningham dancers have ballet backgrounds, some coming from ballet companies and schools, and some joining them after leaving. Merce himself taught at the School of American Ballet. His work is in the repertories of ballet companies including ABT and NYCB. His tecnnique is in the curriculum of many dance departments, and is also taught, of course, at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio, in the Westbeth Building in downtown New York City. There are also some technique videos.
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