Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1980-02-04/1980-12-07
NamesMerce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)Cunningham, Merce (Interviewee)Vaughan, David, 1924- (Interviewer)
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1980-02-04Date Created: 1980-12-07
Library locationsRodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded SoundShelf locator: *LTC-A 1193
TopicsAtlas, CharlesCunningham, MerceMerce Cunningham Dance CompanyDuets (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Event (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Landrover (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Locale (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Merce by Merce by Paik (Motion picture)Rebus (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Seasons (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Torse (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Westbeth (Choreographic work : Cunningham)ChoreographyDance in motion pictures, television, etc
NotesContent: Title provided by cataloger based on audition and handwritten note on original cassette.Content: Handwritten note on original cassette: "1. Interview with Merce Cunningham, 7 December 1980 ; 2. Interview with Merce Cunningham (for Sorce) 4 February 1980".Content: David Vaughan interviews Merce Cunningham, probably in New York, New York, on February 4, and December 7, 1980. This interview was created as research for David Vaughan's book, Merce Cunningham: Fifty years (New York, Aperture).Numbering: Donor's inventory number: C370.Venue: Recorded in, [New York, New York], 1980 February 4 and December 7.Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.Citation/reference: Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Physical DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 1 audiocassette (78 minutes) : analogSound quality is mostly good; at times the interviewee is muffled or speaks away from the recording microphone but is mostly audible.
DescriptionStreaming file 1, December 7: Begins abruptly, Merce Cunningham speaks with David Vaughan about creating Westbeth (1974), his first video collaboration with Charles Atlas; more on each of the sections in Westbeth, including the use of three cameras in the shooting and the incorporation of material from Suite for five (1956); changes made to Westbeth for the Dance in America series filming and for live performances as part of Events; Cunningham speaks about the complicated steps and longer phrases in Rebus (1975) that originated in his technique classes; the challenge for dancers to learn and independently maintain complicated steps; his attempts to push the boundaries of complexity in his choreography; concurrent to Rebus rehearsals, structuring his classes with accompanist, Pat Richter, to explore phrasework with different timelines; Cunningham briefly speaks about creating his own role in Rebus; his scheme to shift the repertory around and the challenges of re-mounting Rebus, including rehearsing the work and re-learning the steps; the origins of collaborating with Nam June Paik on Merce by Merce by Paik (1973), and creating the piece, including why it was a solo for Cunningham; briefly, after filming Merce by Merce by Paik, returning to Paris to re-stage Un jour ou deux (1973); choreographing Torse (1976) by use of the I Ching for the ordering the steps and phrases; Cunningham describes the process by which he adds dancers to later versions of Torse; checking the steps against his choreographic notes; the repetition of the steps and variations in spacing for Torse; ends abruptly.
Streaming file 2, February 4: Begins abruptly, Merce Cunningham speaks with David Vaughan about the critic Nigel Gosling's comparison of Cunningham to Sergei Diaghilev in his collaborative work with visual artists; briefly, collaborating with [Isamu] Noguchi on the Seasons (1947); he speaks about a practical reason why his visual design and musician collaborators work independently; Bob [Robert] Rauschenberg's creation of the backdrop for Summerspace (1958) and props for Travelogue (1977); Cunningham speaks about how his collaboration with Charles Atlas on dance for camera requires closer working processes; rehearsing the piece Locale (1977) with Atlas and his cameras prior to the dancers' involvement; more on the process of creating Locale, including pre-planning edit cuts and working with two cameras for a section; Cunningham explains why he didn't use chance methods in Locale mainly due to the technical challenges of working with dance on camera; briefly, on creatively engaging the restrictions of dance on camera; his re-use of sections from dance on camera pieces in his Events; the process of transferring works from film to stage such as for Locale, and, Fractions (1978); Cunningham speaks about how the editing process with Atlas has revealed images that the eye misses in a live dance; briefly, the current piece Cunningham is choreographing, Duets (1980); briefly, on the Irish folk drumming music Cage recorded for Duets; more on the choreography of Duets; rehearsing Roadrunners (1979) and the challenge of keeping the shapes particular; Cunningham expresses his hope that audiences will come to see the works; ca. 27:08, abruptly ends and new recording begins; Cunningham speaks with Vaughan about the re-construction of Landrover (1972) using his notes and videotapes; his conceptions that inspired Landrover; the compromises that working with dance on camera requires by its limitations; ends abruptly.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 900292851NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20516337Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 8bf41690-b82d-0133-e45e-60f81dd2b63c
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