In the latest Independent, Lizzie Feidelson writes about the difficulty preserving Merce Cunningham's repertoire after the great choreographer's death two years ago. This past weekend, Feidelson performed with a group of other Brown students in a so-called "MinEvent," something of a Merce megamix drawing on five dances from his career. The performance kept with Cunningham's typical alienation of separate elements: a pre-choreographed dance to improvised music, in this case coordinated by Stephan Moore, a PhD student in Brown's MEME program who previously served as music coordinator for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. In her piece, Feidelson emphasizes how dances' preservation depends on "the ability to see them performed on the stage -- a dance is a dance, not a video of one." Nor can Cunningham's dances be easily represented by this blog's combination of words and image. We'll let Feidelson describe what happened in between the moments pictured here:
- [Cunningham's] movement is swift, stately, and technically virtuosic, requiring of his dancers impeccable balance, stunning speed, and uncanny ability for sudden rhythmic and directional shifts. It is rigorous and unadorned, lacking ballet's flourishes or other romantic embellishments; Cunningham's movement seeks to be simply and flawlessly itself. As he put it, "a leap is a leap."