Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1984-04-27

More Details Cite This Item

View this item elsewhere:

Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1984-04-27
Merce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)
Cunningham, Merce (Interviewee)
Vaughan, David, 1924- (Interviewer)

Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1984-04-27
Library locations
Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound
Shelf locator: *LTC-A 1200
Cunningham, Merce
Merce Cunningham Dance Company
National Endowment for the Arts. Dance Program
4 American composers
Lillian Gish (Motion picture)
Strokes of genius (Television program)
Dance companies -- United States
Dance in motion pictures, television, etc
Content: Title provided by cataloger based on audition and handwritten notes on original cassette and container.
Content: Handwritten notes on original cassette and container: "Interview with Merce Cunningham, 27 April 1984".
Content: David Vaughan interviews Merce Cunningham, probably in New York, New York, on April 27, 1984. This interview was created as research for David Vaughan's book, Merce Cunningham: Fifty years (New York, Aperture).
Numbering: Donor's inventory number: C377.
Venue: Recorded in, [New York, New York], 1984 April 27.
Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.
Physical Description
Extent: 1 audiocassette (29 min.) : analog, 7 1/2 ips, full-track, mono, NAB ; 7 in.
Sound quality is mostly good; there are occasional background noises and at times the interviewee is slightly muffled.
Merce Cunningham speaks with David Vaughan about how dance as a profession has changed since he started; Cunningham speaks about the NEA touring program [National Endowment for the Arts, Dance Program] that his [Merce Cunningham Dance] Company participated in, and ways in which it impacted the dance profession; Cunningham speaks about the increase of dance companies in France, especially as compared to his 1949 visit to Paris; briefly, his opinion on the current trends in choreography; Cunningham speaks about seeing a movie on [Jackson] Pollack [part of the Strokes of genius (1984), television mini-series], and compares dance to the abstract expressionist movement in visual art; Vaughan's brief opinion on dance developmentally lagging behind other arts; they discuss a greater public acceptance of dance; briefly, Cunningham speaks about the commodification of painting in the United States as compared to dance; briefly, on building a following for his own Company; Cunningham's opinion that dance should be shown on television more frequently, and why the public television stations backed away from showing dance; Vaughan speaks about current ballet companies performing the works of "avant garde" choreographers such as Cunningham, Lucinda Childs and Karole Armitage; Cunningham speaks about the differences between "modern dance's interest in movement and ballet's interest in ballet conventions"; Cunningham's opinion that ballet choreographers get hampered by style, with the exception of George Balanchine; they speak about ballet and steps; [ca. 18:05 recording ends and new recording begins abruptly]; Cunningham speaks about an unidentified performance that he attended; more on the Pollock movie; they speak about director Peter Greenaway's film on John Cage, [part of the Four American composers (1983), television mini-series] including its screenings at the Kitchen, New York; Cunningham speaks about the Four American composers film on Meredith Monk; Cunningham speaks about the documentary film Lillian Gish (1983) and his admiration of her; they briefly speak about Claudette Colbert; Cunningham speaks about receiving an award to be an Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and names the other past award recipients; ends abruptly.
Type of Resource
Sound recording
RLIN/OCLC: 902650601
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20522334
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 3b447cb0-b838-0133-befc-60f81dd2b63c
Rights Statement
The copyright and related rights status of this item has been reviewed by The New York Public Library, but we were unable to make a conclusive determination as to the copyright status of the item. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.

Item timeline of events

  • 1984: Created
  • 2023: Found by you!
  • 2024

MLA Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1984-04-27" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1984.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1984-04-27" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 2, 2023.

APA Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. (1984). Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1984-04-27 Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (sound recording) Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1984-04-27, (1984)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=April 2, 2023 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1984-04-27