Saturday, October 10, 2009

Joan's writing on Merce in



by Joan AcocellaAUGUST 10, 2009

Merce Cunningham’s signal achievement is that he established modernism—abstraction, decentralization—in dance. In consequence, some people loathed his work, thought it was a prank. Which meant, of course, that others were required to like it. If you didn’t support it, stump for it, you were giving comfort to the philistines. Late last month, Cunningham died in his sleep, at the age of ninety. Now, perhaps, audiences will be able to think about him more clearly. The tremendous beauty of his work was its objectivity. John Cage, his partner in life and art, said that what he and Cunningham were aiming for was “the imitation of nature in the manner of her operation.” In a meadow, a bird flies in one direction, a rabbit runs in another. So it was on Cunningham’s stage. This seeming lack of coercion focussed the mind on the individual dancer, and the cell of movement. Cunningham’s work, like no other, made your brain feel clean. You seemed to be seeing dance for the first time. |

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