Research Catalog

Merce Cunningham and the new dance

Merce Cunningham and the new dance [sound recording].

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StatusVol/DateFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
reel 1AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 1Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
reel 2AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 2Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
reel 3AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 3Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
reel 4AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 4Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
reel 5AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 5Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
reel 6AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 6Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
reel 7AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 7Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
reel 8AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 8Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
reel 9AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 9Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
reel 10AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 10Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
reel 11AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 11Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
reel 12AudioUse in library *MGZTC 3-1193 [sound cassette] reel 12Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance


Additional Authors
12 sound cassettes (approx. 8.5 hrs.) : 3 3/4 ips.
Oral History Archive.
  • Panel discussion recorded March 6 and 7, 1987.
Call Number
*MGZTC 3-1193
Merce Cunningham and the new dance [sound recording].
Cassette 1. Mar. 6, 1987. Patricia Ross introduces the panel discussion with a summary of Cunningham's artistic contribution to the field; introduces participants Deborah Jowitt, Gerald Myers, Viola Farber, Dale Harris and David Vaughan. Jowitt offers historical background and describes Cunningham's separation from the modern dance tradition. Vaughan details Cunningham's biographical and artistic history; his affiliation with John Cage; Cunningham's artistic development and early radical departures. Myers discusses the philosophical aspects of Cunningham's work, in particular the limitations of the concept of modernism.
Cassette 2. Farber describes meeting Cunningham; his teaching; use of chance; Cunningham technique (what it is and how it changes). Harris discusses Cunningham and some of the extraordinary collaborations he has done with artists from other media; compares Cunningham to Diaghilev. The panelists discuss a variety of issues including Cunningham's concept of clarity.
Cassette 3. The panel discusses Cunningham's intentions as well as the subjects of conceptual vs intuitive, musicality, emotion, and modernism. Vaughan reviews the history of Cunningham's film and video work. Questions from the audience are answered including the difference between modern and modernism.
Cassette 4. Questions from the audience continue. The film, Event for television, is introduced, including some information on the history of Events. [Tape pauses when film is shown and resumes the next morning (Mar. 7, 1987)] David Vaughan moderates a discussion with Cunningham dancers Douglas Dunn, Gus Solomons, Marianne Preger Simon, Viola Farber, Valda Setterfield, Carolyn Brown and Steve Paxton. They discuss Cunningham's method of communicating movement to dancers; his creative process; his interest in the quality of individual dancers; the concepts of chance and indeterminacy; his piece, Story.
Cassette 5. More on Story and Cunningham's creative and rehearsal process; chance and indeterminacy; dancers' methods of learning the material; Rune; Cunningham's use of imagery in the teaching of movement; Septet;meaning in Cunningham's work; his work Field dances.
Cassette 6. Cunningham's ability to help the dancers perform; Cunningham's own performing; ways in which Cunningham's work has or has not changed over the years; Suite by chance; ways in which the company has changed; the influence of ballet technique on the company's work; Cunningham technique. Questions from the audience.
Cassette 7. More questions from the audience [pause; tape resumes with afternoon panel on Cunningham and music]. Roger Oliver moderates discussion with Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, and John Rockwell. Rockwell introduces an overview of Cunningham and music and poses questions on subjects including John Cage and composers of the New York School.
Cassette 8. Wolff discusses ways in which Cunningham has affected his composing; describes significant experiences working with Cunningham. Feldman describes working with Cunningham and the structural ideas he developed at that time; working on Summerspace.
Cassette 9. Feldman continues discussion on Cage and Cunningham. Wolff continues to discuss how he has been influenced by Cunningham. Questions from the audience. Feldman describes similarities between composers whowere considered part of the New York School. [After a pause there is a visual arts panel] Roberta Bernstein, Roger Copeland, William Anastasi, Dove Bradshaw and Carolyn Brown. Bernstein gives a summary of the artistic environment in the 1940s and 1950s; abstract expressionism; Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Copeland compares Cunningham's repudiation of the work of Martha Graham to Johns' and Rauschenberg's rejection of aspects of abstract expressionism. Brown describes her perception of Cunningham's involvement with visual artists.
Cassette 10. Carolyn Brown continues her discussion of the visual artists with whom Cunningham worked; also discusses Story, Canfield and Scramble. Dove Bradshaw discusses the process through which she and William Anastasi work with Cunningham. Anastasi discusses changes since the early years of the company; Cunningham's tendency to remain removed from decisions on visual design elements. Copeland compares the nature of Cunningham's collaborations with Diaghilev's methods and how the differences reflect the changing times.
Cassettte 11. Dove discusses the collaborative process and the use of chance in her work; Cunningham's influence on Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg; issues in lighting dance. [Pause]. Gerald O'Grady and Nam June Paik talk about television and dance. Paik discusses a project with Cunningham and Charles Atlas.
Cassette 12. Paik continues to discuss his work with Cunningham; filming dance; predictions regarding the future of dance and video. Questionsfrom audience. Paik describes his perception of Cunningham's aesthetics.
Local Note
Preservation master tape: *MGZTCO 3-1193.
Additional copy (incomplete?): *MGZT 10-1193 (4 reels).
Local Subject
Modern dance -- Technique -- Cunningham.
Added Author
Jowitt, Deborah.
Myers, Gerald.
Farber, Viola.
Vaughan, David, 1924-
Harris, Dale, 1928-1996.
Dunn, Douglas, 1942-
Solomons, Gus, Jr., 1940-
Preger-Simon, Marianne, 1929-
Setterfield, Valda.
Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008.
Johns, Jasper, 1930-
Paxton, Steve.
Oliver, Roger W., 1945-
Feldman, Morton, 1926-1987.
Wolff, Christian, 1934-
Rockwell, John, 1940- panelist.
Bernstein, Roberta.
Copeland, Roger.
Anastasi, William, 1933-
Bradshaw, Dove.
Brown, Carolyn, 1927-
O'Grady, Gerald.
Paik, Nam June, 1932-2006
Added Title
Oral History Archive.
Research Call Number
*MGZTC 3-1193
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