Research Catalog

Interview with Dorothy Berea Silver

Interview with Dorothy Berea Silver, 1978-11-03.
Berea, Dorothy
November 3, 1978.

Available Online

NYPL Digital Collections


Additional Authors
  • Vaughan, David, 1924-
  • Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, donor.
Found In
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
1 streaming audio file (44 minutes) : digital, stereo
Begins abruptly, Dorothy Berea [Silver] speaks with David Vaughan about the scarcity of photographs of Merce Cunningham's works from the early 1940's, especially Root of the unfocus (1944) and Totem ancestor (1942); Vaughan briefly speaks about his first experiences seeing the Merce Cunningham Dance Company performances in New York, 1953; Berea speaks about Eleanor Goff recommending Merce Cunningham's dance classes to her in the fall of 1946; more on Cunningham's classes at the Dance Player Studios on 56th street, including anecdotes on John Cage as the class accompanist; Berea compares Cunningham's current technique classes to the early era classes, including the material that she teaches; briefly, relates a Cunningham class exercise - the eight directions - with the opening movements of the Sixteen dances for soloist and company of three (1951); they discuss a specific Cunningham movement that Silver recalls and demonstrates; Berea speaks about her "body memory" of the Cunningham technique; Berea speaks about simultaneously dancing with the Martha Graham Company and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; her admiration of the organized way Cunningham worked with his dancers; more on the various rehearsal studios in the late 1940's and early 1950's; they discuss the first piece Berea performed in as a Company member, Dromenon (1947); Berea recalls and demonstrates some of the movements from Dromenon; they discuss the costuming of Dromenon and other costumes from early Cunningham works; Berea speaks about Cage's pine branch headdresses for Dromenon; Berea briefly compares the ritual style of Dromenon with a piece for Ballet Society from the same year, Seasons (1947); Berea speaks about Cunningham's reluctance to discuss the subjects of his works in rehearsals and deciding to make her own meanings of the material unless Cunningham gave her a correction on her approach; they speculate on possible precursors and works related to Dromenon - Princess zondilda and her entourage (1946) and Four walls (1944); they discuss another work that Berea danced in, Diverson (1948); Berea recalls the costumes for Diversion; Berea speaks briefly about the opening of Pool of darkness (1950) and the atmosphere of rehearsals for it; she speaks about dancing Tanaquil LeClerqc's role in Amores (1949); Berea recalls the physical similarities between herself and fellow Company dancer, Mili Churchill; they speak about another Company dancer, Natanya Neumann and her recent death; Berea speaks briefly about being pregnant and teaching her role in Sixteen dances to Neumann; they speak about the Company's 1952 performances at Brandeis University and Berea's resignation before those performances; more about Sixteen dances, including her enjoyment of dancing it and the costumes for it; they briefly discuss other cast members of Sixteen dances; Berea speaks about other Company members from her era: Churchill, Goff and her ex-husband Seymour Krim, Judith Martin, and Sara Hamill; Berea briefly speaks about the struggles of being a dancer; more on Cunningham's dance classes and the challenges she faced in them, ends abruptly.
Alternative Title
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials.
  • Interviews.
  • Sound recordings.
  • Title provided by cataloger based on audition and handwritten note on original container.
  • Handwritten note on original container: "Dorothy Berea Silver ; Greensboro, North Carolina ; 3 November 1978".
  • David Vaughan interviews Dorothy Berea Silver in Greensboro, North Carolina on November 3, 1978. This interview was created as research for David Vaughan's book, Merce Cunningham: Fifty years (New York, Aperture).
  • Sound quality is mostly good; at times the interviewee is slightly muffled.
  • Donor's inventory number: C371.
Access (note)
  • Patrons can access streaming audio only on site at NYPL Research Libraries.
Source (note)
  • Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation,
Linking Entry (note)
  • Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Call Number
*LTC-A 1194
  • 900292173
  • 900292173
Berea, Dorothy, interviewee.
Interview with Dorothy Berea Silver, 1978-11-03.
November 3, 1978.
Playing Time
Type of Content
spoken word
Type of Medium
Type of Carrier
online resource
Recorded in, Greensboro, North Carolina, 1978 November 3.
Restricted Access
Patrons can access streaming audio only on site at NYPL Research Libraries.
Original Version
Archival original: (1 audio cassette (44 minutes) : analog) in *LTC-A 1194.
Linking Entry
Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Local Note
Transferred from original analog cassette by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.
Connect to:
NYPL Digital Collections
Added Author
Vaughan, David, 1924- interviewer.
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, donor.
Added Title
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials.
Found In:
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Research Call Number
*LTC-A 1194
View in Legacy Catalog