Interview with Dorothy Berea Silver, 1978-11-03
NamesMerce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)Berea, Dorothy (Interviewee)Vaughan, David, 1924- (Interviewer)
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1978-11-03
Library locationsRodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded SoundShelf locator: *LTC-A 1194
TopicsBerea, DorothyCage, JohnChurchill, MiliCunningham, MerceGoff, EleanorNeumann, NatanyaMerce Cunningham Dance CompanyDiversion (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Dromenon (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Pool of darkness (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Sixteen dances for soloist and company of three (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
NotesContent: Title provided by cataloger based on audition and handwritten note on original container.Content: Handwritten note on original container: "Dorothy Berea Silver ; Greensboro, North Carolina ; 3 November 1978".Content: 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).Numbering: Donor's inventory number: C371.Venue: Recorded in, Greensboro, North Carolina, 1978 November 3.Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.Citation/reference: Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Physical DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 1 audio cassette (44 minutes) : analogSound quality is mostly good; at times the interviewee is slightly muffled.
DescriptionBegins 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.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 900292173NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20516336Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 6d6113d0-b82d-0133-4d49-60f81dd2b63c
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