dancer of the day

Submitted by Susan Miller on Sat, 12/30/2006 - 12:44.

My hero, the man whose ideas expanded my own is interviewed here about his life and work. I had the opportunity to work with one of his very first dancers, Albert Reid when I was a 15 year old bunhead at a summer ballet school in Saratoga, NY. Needless to say, it changed my life and the course of my life’s work and world view.  So now that I have ended my career as artistic director of a modern dance repertory company here in Northeast Ohio, I, like Merce, am still dancing and still seeing dance even though I may not be entering theaters to do so as often as before. Now for example I head out for the dance of dog walking. Today, the lighting design is especially brilliant.

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He does what he does, and I do what I do

That would be Merce Cunningham.Really fascinating interview and perspectives - "I think of dancing as being movement, any kind of movement. And that it is as accurate and impermanent as breathing." - and - "I can call it dancing, even if nobody else does" - ... and what a life! Collaboration with Cage on music, Johns, Rauschenberg and Warhol on set design... amazing..I guess what really makes me appreciate his reflection on life, movement and dance is watching my 20 month old son moving through life, as all day every day he performs the most spectacular dance, changing every day and evolving over tiem, but never more fascinating than the dance before, from day one. So, you are so right Interesting quotes from the interview you link to from NPR, which is very worth listening to!:

The choreographer says he sees all movement as dance: a man stepping off a curb, a woman jiggling her foot impatiently, a bird arching its bony shoulders.

Cunningham demands a lot of audiences, too. Often when he collaborated with John Cage, Cunningham would create a dance and Cage would compose the music -- separately. Cunningham made no attempt to fit the dancers' movements to the music. Sometimes the performance was the first time they heard the music.

"Given a certain length of time, let’s say 10 minutes, I could make a dance which would take up 10 minutes and John Cage could make a piece of music that occupied the same amount of time, and we could put them together," Cage recalls.

"When Cage would play the piece, there would be moments when in the other way of working, I would have thought there should be a sound, but his sound would come perhaps just after what I had done. And it was like opening your mind again to another possibility. As John Cage said once, 'He does what he does, and I do what I do and for your convenience, we put it together.' I thought that was a remarkable way of thinking about it."

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