Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1980-02-04/1980-12-07

More Details Cite This Item

View this item elsewhere:

Title
Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1980-02-04/1980-12-07
Names
Merce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)
Cunningham, Merce (Interviewee)
Vaughan, David, 1924- (Interviewer)
Collection

Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1980-02-04
Date Created: 1980-12-07
Library locations
Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound
Shelf locator: *LTC-A 1193
Topics
Atlas, Charles
Cunningham, Merce
Merce Cunningham Dance Company
Duets (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)
Choreography
Dance in motion pictures, television, etc
Genres
Interviews
Notes
Content: 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 Description
Audiocassette
Extent: 1 audiocassette (78 minutes) : analog
Sound quality is mostly good; at times the interviewee is muffled or speaks away from the recording microphone but is mostly audible.
Description
Streaming 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 Resource
Sound recording
Languages
English
Identifiers
RLIN/OCLC: 900292851
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20516337
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 8bf41690-b82d-0133-e45e-60f81dd2b63c
Rights Statement
This item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. 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. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Item timeline of events

  • 1980: Created (Approximate)
  • 2021: Found by you!
  • 2022

MLA Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1980-02-04/1980-12-07" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1980 - 1980. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/a3d753e0-b82d-0133-4c25-60f81dd2b63c

Chicago/Turabian Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1980-02-04/1980-12-07" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/a3d753e0-b82d-0133-4c25-60f81dd2b63c

APA Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. (1980 - 1980). Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1980-02-04/1980-12-07 Retrieved from https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/a3d753e0-b82d-0133-4c25-60f81dd2b63c

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url=https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/a3d753e0-b82d-0133-4c25-60f81dd2b63c | title= (sound recording) Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1980-02-04/1980-12-07, (1980 - 1980)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=December 2, 2021 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1980-02-04/1980-12-07