Body Language

merce cunningham 2

‘I’d never encountered anything like it’ … Michael Cole in Cunningham’s Beach Birds for Camera, with music by John Cage, 1991. Photograph: Merce Cunningham Trust.

I’ve had little opportunity to enjoy the spectacle of dance except vicariously through the writing of Joan Acocella in The New Yorker. I admire the discipline and athleticism that dance demands of its performers. The passage cited here charms me for how it expresses dance movements as “phrases,” as well as for its glimpse through the eyes of a dancer into the creative process. (Michael Cole, dancer)

[Merce Cunningham] would make a phrase just for the legs, say, then he would teach a completely different phrase for the arms, and then another for the torso and the head. It was up to us to put it all together and make sense of it. That’s where it really started to get crazy. (Michael Cole, dancer)

(Lindsey Winship [Interviewer], “’He said two things to me in five years. And one was thanks for the cheese’ – Merce Cunningham,” The Guardian, 4-15-19)

(c) 2019 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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