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  • Merce Cunningham Rockefeller Award

    Merce Cunningham Rockefeller Award

    In this video Merce Cunningham tells us how he began his dance career, eventually becoming a soloist in the Martha Graham Dance Company. Later he and John Cage, composer, met. They decided to create works together where the dance and the music were separated to a degree. In other words two separate entities of music and dance came together as a work rather than the music being designed specifically for the dance. In a somewhat similar manner Cunningham’s dancers were […]

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  • Merce Cunningham Dance Company

    Merce Cunningham Dance Company

    Merce Cunningham approached dance with an eye for redefining the norm. Moreover he collaborated with other artists from a variety of disciplines who were on the cutting edge in their disciplines as well. Aggressive, dominant, experimental, and distinctive come to mind when watching Cunningham’s works. You easily see this in his avant-garde technique, the changes in movement direction, and the independence of his dancers. Even the duets have either a detached feel to them or the dancers are dancing “alone.” […]

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  • Merce Cunningham Dance Company – Second Hand

    Merce Cunningham Dance Company – Second Hand

    Second Hand, Merce Cunningham, choreographer; John Cage, composer, “Cheap Imitation” At the beginning of this excerpt from Second Hand, Robert Swinston and Andrea Weber show us a gentle, comfortable, yet intimate relationship. In the next part of the excerpt Swinston is left alone on stage, only to be joined by nine other dancers. Cage makes it known that Swinston, dancing as Cunningham himself, was playing Socrates in the last few hours of his death. A subdued, controlled work… A work of […]

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  • Merce Cunningham Dance Company – Nearly Ninety

    Merce Cunningham Dance Company – Nearly Ninety

    The costumes in the first part of the video took me aback. What an effective design! Interestingly, they sometimes made the bodies look distorted…in a way that makes you wonder if you’re really seeing what you think you are. I loved watching the dancers at the beginning. The sustained movement oozed through space with such fluidity. Beautiful! For Cunningham whose technique was about movement for movement’s sake, however, the set seemed pretty elaborate, if not overdone. This short clip provides […]

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  • Merce Cunningham Dance Group – Harris Theater For Music And Dance

    Merce Cunningham Dance Group – Harris Theater For Music And Dance

    In this particular sequence the dancers seem to relate to each other somewhat more on a physical basis than they do in other Cunningham sequences. The solo dancer appears to be very thoughtfully experimenting with his movements, then just as intentionally reacting to them. Let me know if you like this video, then share with others.

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  • Merce Cunningham Dance Company

    Merce Cunningham Dance Company

    You can’t miss the extent to which this sequence so clearly underscores Cunningham’s commitment to movement for movement’s sake. Each movement is as intense in its technique as it is lacking in psychological or emotional expression. A very difficult sequence requiring an amazing amount of control! If you enjoyed this sequence, please like this video and pass it along to your friends.  

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  • Merce Cunningham- Changing Steps 2

    Merce Cunningham- Changing Steps 2

    Had this piece been comprised of only one dancer and without knowing Cunningham’s work, I probably would have assumed this was improvisational. Though I love the very cutting edge, innovative technique that belongs to Cunningham, I sometimes have to ask myself what drives the dancers’ energy. After all, Cunningham’s technique is deliberate in its lack of emotion. Perhaps, as was the case with Cunningham, it was the dancers’ sheer love of movement that did so. If you enjoy Cunningham’s technique, […]

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  • Merce Cunningham – Changing Steps 1

    Merce Cunningham – Changing Steps 1

    Radical, progressive, and innovative, Merce Cunningham developed an entirely different way of looking at movement and, in so doing, broke away from the pioneers of modern dance like Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey. In this piece dancers relate to each physically but without emotional attachment. Occasionally using each other as props, they also help with one another’s movements. They sometimes appear to be experimenting, trying out new movements as if wondering what kinds of responses they’ll get from their environment. […]

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  • Merce Cunningham–Beach Birds 1

    Merce Cunningham–Beach Birds 1

    In Beach Birds you see a very sculptured piece, very much Merce Cunningham. The dancers, dressed in black and white leotards, mimic the movements of birds with stiff, non-fluid, almost jerky movements. Watching this performance is almost hypnotic but still very enjoyable…and unusual. Performed to the non music of John Cage. Do you think this would have been difficult to perform for someone who hadn’t trained in Cunningham’s style? Share with your friends and ask what they think.

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  • Merce Cunningham – The Coast Zone (from The Collaborators)

    Merce Cunningham – The Coast Zone (from The Collaborators)

    Avant garde in approach as well as controversial in nature, there’s no doubt that Merce Cunningham nonetheless had a significant impact on modern dance. Unlike many of his predecessors, Cunningham’s creativity wasn’t based on emotion. Rather he centered his choreography around the magnificence of the human body and the beauty it could bring to the moment. Watch this excerpt, The Coast Zone, from the film, The Collaborators, in which he works jointly with John Cage, composer, and Robert Rauschenberg, visual […]

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