Blogs The Green Room

Corey Dargel in St. Paul: “Chronic Cirrhosis” Never Sounded So Pretty

To spark discussion, the Walker invites local artists and critics to write overnight reviews of our performances. The ongoing Re:View series shares a diverse array of independent voices and opinions; it doesn’t reflect the views or opinions of the Walker or its curators. Today, music writer Justin Schell shares his perspective on Wednesday night’s concert […]

To spark discussion, the Walker invites local artists and critics to write overnight reviews of our performances. The ongoing Re:View series shares a diverse array of independent voices and opinions; it doesn’t reflect the views or opinions of the Walker or its curators. Today, music writer Justin Schell shares his perspective on Wednesday night’s concert by Corey Dargel. Agree or disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments!

When the Walker’s Philip Blither characterized Corey Dargel as “living between worlds,” my ears perked up. If anyone reading this knows anything about me, a lot of what I do focuses on those who live their lives as part of a diaspora, those who can call someplace home just as much, or more, as they might call Minnesota home.

As I listened to the two song cycles that Dargel, Todd Reynolds, and Ensemble 61 performed Wednesday night in St. Paul, it soon became clear that Dargel’s words were much more metaphoric and metaphysical yet balanced with the quotidian and the commonplace. Beyond the by-now standard new music line of bridging “art music” and “pop music,” Dargel’s fractured aphorisms of songs circled around the worlds of life and death or, perhaps more precisely, the feelings, preparations, nuances, and emotions of facing the death of a loved one, or even your own.

Todd Reynolds joined Dargel for Every Day is the Same Day, his first set of simultaneously disarming and disturbing songs, with their nursery school-ish rhymes complimented by the ghostly loops of Reynolds’ violin. The cycle’s best moments were in “Surely I Can Rebuild You,” a song dedicated to his grandfather. Dargel sang stories of his grandfather building stilts so his grandson could be a giraffe, yet soon the music and lyrics took a poignant turn: “Whatever it was that killed you/Surely I can rebuild you.”

As Dargel repeated these lines, Reynolds’s bow darted across his instrument’s strings, creating fluttering lines against a warm bed of gorgeous strings. In one of many excellent examples of Dargel’s word painting, these moments seemed to represent his grandfather’s moving parts finally going awry and failing, after fixing so many parts in his life, or Dargel’s furious attempts to make things better again.

The second half of the concert, with the excellent Ensemble 61, didn’t feature as many of these emotionally powerful moments. More overtly taking on the space between life and death, as symbolized by the near-death experience, the cycle ranged from childhood alcoholism (“chronic cirrhosis” never sounded so pretty) to the unrequited love of a hypochondriac for his/her doctor. What was nicely ambiguous in the piece was whether or not the love of the doctor came first, or the love of the attention that came from the patient’s hypochondria.

Over the rest of the cycle, many of the songs had the same elements, eventually blurring the lines between them. These similarities were strengthened by the rich, yet eventually undifferentiated warmth of Dargel’s voice, a voice that places him neatly in the style of many other contemporary male vocalists from all across the musical spectrum: Andrew Bird, Zach Condon of Beirut, Owen Pallett, and even Rufus Wainwright. The rhymes and punchlines started to wear a bit, and by the time the last song started, “Someone Will Take Care of Me,” it was a relief to hear a solid beat and a song that actually felt like a song and not a shard of experience set to music with by now predictable poetic juxtaposition. This constant beat, though, can easily be heard as a reminder of the inevitability of that which awaits us all when we depart this world and no longer have to worry about the in between.

Post-script: Merce Cunningham Dance Company signs Walker wall

The McGuire Theater’s backstage wall added another set of signatures last week, and these were pretty historic: Following their Walker performances, members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company added their names. The Walker is among the final venues of the company’s two-year Legacy Tour, which performs at only seven more sites before the company shuts […]

The McGuire Theater’s backstage wall added another set of signatures last week, and these were pretty historic: Following their Walker performances, members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company added their names. The Walker is among the final venues of the company’s two-year Legacy Tour, which performs at only seven more sites before the company shuts down permanently on December 31. These dancers are the last Cunningham, who died in 2009, personally trained.

Cataloguing performance: How do you keep both history and magic alive?

At Friday’s workshop, with independent scholars and writers, videographers, and representatives on hand from the Andy Warhol Museum, the Cunningham Dance Foundation and Merce Cunningham Dance Company, New York Public Library, Wexner Center for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, University Musical Society, the University of Minnesota, and of course the […]

At Friday’s workshop, with independent scholars and writers, videographers, and representatives on hand from the Andy Warhol Museum, the Cunningham Dance Foundation and Merce Cunningham Dance Company, New York Public Library, Wexner Center for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, University Musical Society, the University of Minnesota, and of course the Walker – it was a full room and a diverse representation of voices on the issues connected with archiving and documenting the performing arts.

The day began with a deceptively simple question: What does it mean to catalogue performing arts? The query has as many layers as an onion. Try to answer it, and you find yourself immediately confronted with several more questions to tackle first:

  • What do we mean when we say an institution is “collecting” performance?
  • Who owns the work?
  • Who owns the documentation of the work?
  • Who decides what should be archived and for whom it will be accessible?
  • What happens if the artist’s needs and desires, vis a vis these performance holdings and documentation materials, don’t align with those of the institution?
  • What’s primary to the historical record, the archive: the performance itself, its process of creation, or the context of public and critical response to the work?

Philip Bither, the Walker’s senior curator of performing arts, starts the discussion off: “How does our history of presenting and commissioning works get captured and collected?” In response, both Robin Dowden, of the Walker, and Jim Leija, of Ann Arbor’s University Musical Society, spoke in terms of regularly updated, “living archives,” which would be digitized and, to some extent anyway, available for public use online. For their parts, Peter Taub (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago) and Bonnie Brooks (Legacy plan fellow for the Cunningham Dance Foundation) both called attention to the “valuable texture” given to an archive through somehow capturing ephemeral response: anecdotal, eyewitness accounts of experience with the work of the sort that used to be available in letters and collectible correspondence, but which, as such media has gone by the wayside in favor of less tangible, digital modes of communication, has become increasingly hard to get hold of.

It becomes clear as participants talk that, for them, “capturing” a history means digitization of information, as well as assembling news and interviews about a work, collecting the sets and props and costumes. A thorough, useful archive requires a broad spectrum of material and information – something beyond just a recording of the performance, including also performance notes, scores, script readings, workshops, open rehearsals – all the steps that go into the making of a thing, long before you get to the premiere. The historical record could be process-oriented – including details about the development process, creative process, work process. But all seem to agree that documentation of performing arts needs to include at least some behind-the-scenes context in order to facilitate a more complete understanding a work; you need that information about the makers of it.

Jacqueline Davis, of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts summed up what many seemed to get at:  “Capturing the history of a performance means the collecting information on the whole thing, beginning to end; gathering what makes that performance real, putting everything ‘in the box’.”

Ben Harrison, of the Andy Warhol Museum, raised an important and fundamental related question, another layer on the onion: “Why do we capture it at all? Warhol captured everything – on audio, film, video. It was his practice, to try to document his scene, everything around him, thinking of his Factory and studio as a performance space. Carrying on his spirit, we do a single-camera static shot of just about everything we can. But we ask the question, too: what role is this documentation going to have? Why are we doing it? Is it just a time capsule?”

Joanna Scavone performing Bruce Nauman's "Body as a Sphere" for the Walker's 2009 exhibition "The Quick and the Dead"

Trevor Carlson, executive director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, shifts the focus of the conversation away from institutional concerns to those of the artists themselves, emphasizing the practical and pressing motivations behind such information-gathering efforts: “For us, the question is: how do we continue to serve Merce Cunningham’s legacy through the licensing of his work, and for scholarly and educational study, when our lighting director, stage manager, wardrobe supervisor, development staff, general manager, visual artist, etc are no longer available? The ‘dance capsules’ we put together, for example – which collect some of Merce’s notes, all the costumes, set designs, the musical scores, everything that goes into a performance – were simply a practical solution to that problem, not a self-consciously revolutionary way to ‘archive’ the material. Our interest is in making that information accessible and reliable, and on our terms, for the sake of paying respect to Merce’s legacy. I should be clear: we’re not putting absolutely everything in there. Not all of Merce’s notes about a given work, or the process by which it was created, ends up in those dance capsules. Just what’s essential to ensuring they’ll be rendered later accurately and in accordance with the artists’ wishes.”

Judith Brin, a dancer and scholar, interjected, “All this talk about ‘capturing’ information has such a negative connotation to me, a terrifying connotation even – what do we put in the box that’s going to help us? On a practical level, how on earth are you going to store all this if you save everything? How do we hold on to enough mystery about the work to keep the magic alive?”

On that note, despite expressed wishes for a complete and total history, everyone soon agrees that an exhaustive archive simply isn’t feasible. Ultimately, you can’t just ‘put everything in the box.” At that point, the question of editing down the contents of the information you gather somehow becomes another layer of the onion to contend with: Deciding what to leave out of the archive turns out to be almost as important as deciding what to put in.

Bonnie Brooks, of the Cunningham Foundation asks, “That question: ‘Why are we collecting this information in the first place?’ is a central one. So much of the heart of performing arts centers on an individual’s encounter and experience with the work. What we’re talking about here then should be ‘what kinds of content surrounding a performance can have a life of their own, beyond the work on stage? Maybe we start by gathering contextual material and media, along with eyewitness narratives that might provide a way to interact in some way with the work, providing a kind of experience for newcomers to it over time, even if they never see the actual performance on stage. That’s valuable: It won’t be an experience of the performance work itself, but even the documentation, the archival record, should still be something with real life and artistry.”

Next up: “Opening the kimono” – How much do you want to let the public see?

##

Related link: Read the first post in this series on cataloguing performance - “How to Catch Lightning in a Bottle”.

Susannah Schouweiler serves as editor for the weekly updated arts writing and criticism published on mnartists.org, as well as the site’s twice-monthly e-mag access+ENGAGE. She has also written for a number of outlets, including Ruminator magazine, MinnPost.com, City Pages, The Rake, Minneapolis Observer, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts blog.

To have the chance: A SpeakEasy for Merce Cunningham

SpeakEasy: An informal audience discussion following Saturday evening performances. The Merce Cunningham conversation was led by Walker tour guide Barbara Davey and local choreographer Justin Jones. This blog incorporates participants’ comments and questions, offering an opportunity to continue the discussion in an online forum. Dance is an ephemeral form, but with each end, there remains […]

SpeakEasy: An informal audience discussion following Saturday evening performances. The Merce Cunningham conversation was led by Walker tour guide Barbara Davey and local choreographer Justin Jones. This blog incorporates participants’ comments and questions, offering an opportunity to continue the discussion in an online forum.

Dance is an ephemeral form, but with each end, there remains a potential, the possibility of another performance yet to come. This weekend’s visit to the Walker Art Center by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company is a different case. Nearing the end of their 2-year legacy tour following Cunningham’s death in 2009, these performances will be the company’s last appearances in Minneapolis. As the curtain falls each night, there is therefore a finitude, concluding a long series of performances in Minnesota stretching back to 1948.

The Legacy Tour takes the spectator on a voyage back in time, starting with 1998’s evocative Pond Way, followed by 1968’s dynamic Rainforest, and concluding with the young Cunningham’s playful Antic Meet (pictured above) from 1958. This selection, specially arranged for the Walker, enables audience members to see costumes in use whose originals are currently on display.  Highlighting the Walker’s long relationship with Cunningham, this recent acquisition of the company’s costumes and set pieces brings with it a range of compelling questions regarding the problem of archiving and preserving performance, a challenge described by Susannah Schouweiler as “catching lightning in a bottle.” These pieces are themselves art, as is the performance and its residue. Do you remove the make-up stains from costumes to maintain their integrity as objects, essentially erasing the dance in the process? A museum can commission, but how can an institution “own” this fleeting experience wherein performers and audience members gather in a space together?

Cunningham emerged from the era when Modern Dance was new and choreographers forged movement techniques that bore their names – Horton, Graham, Limón. Maintaining a rigorous dedication to technique, his incorporation of chance into choreographic methods would inspire the next generation. Now a few decades later, what impact have the changes in technology, broadening of the dance field, or postmodern de-emphasis on the singular empowered author had on today’s choreographers? Could another Cunningham appear, or is his life and impact tied to the particular span of history he inhabited?

Merce Cunningham’s remarkable 70-year career in dance and his renown as a choreographer, performer, and developer of his own movement technique place a heavy responsibility on his dancers. Superimposing this legacy on their bodies, do we efface their individuality to transform them into a representation – into “Cunningham Dancers”? The responsibility is even greater now as audience members come with high expectations, anticipating the memory of their last Cunningham concert. The intimacy of the McGuire Theatre perhaps helps to counteract this denial of individuation. We see these dancers up-close, and can appreciate both their strength as unique performers as well as their commitment to this legacy.
Appropriate for the Walker’s cross-disciplinary reach, the pieces presented here feature noted contributors to the fields of music and visual arts. Created independently, the elements of design, music, and dance coalesce onstage, coexisting in space and time rather than driving one another. Roy Lichtenstein’s backdrop depicts his signature style while extending the stage into an undifferentiated, meditative space. Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds function as set pieces, obstacles, and at times, as floating performers. Robert Rauschenberg’s costumes highlight Antic Meet’s humor and lightness. Musical scores by Brian Eno, David Tudor, and Cunningham’s life partner John Cage highlight the evolution of experimental music over the latter half of the 20th century.

A frequent collaborator, Cunningham strove to disentangle dance from external influences such as narrative, climatic build, or the dictation of music, using chance as a choreographic means of separating movement from the manipulations of human emotion. Dance stands alone and the spectator is freed to see the dance without the imposition of additional layers of meaning or interpretation. The spectator is presented with a realm of activity that Cunningham has compared to nature’s combination of discrete components in a single location, “heavy and light, little and big, all unrelated, yet each affecting all the others” (Merce Cunningham, 98).

As the curtain descended on Antic Meet, dancers continued to scramble through their sequences, disappearing while leaving behind a sense of perpetual motion. It seemed fitting to conclude the performance on this note, with a glance back to the beginning of an active career, arbitrarily cut off in time, but resonating long afterwards.

More on Walker blogs:

Read Penny Freeh’s blog about the performance.

Learn about the Walker’s history with Merce Cunningham.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company: The Legacy Tour

As I left last night’s performance by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, my husband asked, “Is this the kind of modern dance that post modern dance grew in response to?” Me: “Uh, yeah. Exactly.” I’ve been thinking about that question and response in the few hours since. I still stand behind my answer and yet… […]

As I left last night’s performance by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, my husband asked, “Is this the kind of modern dance that post modern dance grew in response to?”

Me: “Uh, yeah. Exactly.”

I’ve been thinking about that question and response in the few hours since. I still stand behind my answer and yet… there’s something special about Merce. There’s something about the longevity and relevance of the work that still garners, if not downright adoration, then certainly the utmost respect. He has advanced dance in terms of involving chance and randomness. He declared dance independent of music. He created dances alongside music, as well as décor, so that they were coexisting companions and not one leading the other around. That was radical thinking, it still is, and that is a value many post moderns (and post post moderns) align with today.

Merce’s dances often place the viewer in another place and time. The particular and quirky combinations of port de bras with the unlikeliest legs create a tone of otherworldliness, the visual equivalent of listening to a foreign language spoken fluently amongst the locals.

The first piece on the program, Pond Way (pictured above), was the most recent. Choreographed in 1998, the curtain rose upon the 13 dancers already in motion, repeating shared steps at slightly different times. They resembled elegant animals in their drapey white costumes, cranes perhaps or egrets, with their long legs dominating their movements. There were one-legged balances with the other limbs specifically akimbo, leaps into one-legged doubled overness, endless walks on 4th releve. This dance expressed a community of individuals. There was very little contact and yet relationships were created by defining the space, adding and subtracting dancers from the wings, transitioning at perfect visual moments, adding to the existing scene just in time and yet surprisingly.

The second piece, RainForest, amplified the otherworldly quality established in the first. Here the 6 dancers partnered and soloed amidst and underneath puffy silver foil-like “clouds” designed by Andy Warhol. Randomness played a part as the dancers’ interacted with the clouds on the floor. They danced as though they weren’t there, kicking them out of the way as steps demanded, without malice, simply because they were in their path. The shock of the silver puffs juxtaposed the nude clad dancers. Organic and industrial beings coexist.

This piece left so much room for supposition and imaginative leaping on the part of the viewers. The dancers were so specifically weird, precise and responsive to and against one another that we were somehow free to let our imaginations wander. I conjured Adam and Eve–like retellings, humans both sultry and angry, at each other and their environment. And yet there was a comfort, like they were “at home”, in their garden or playground, leaving them safe to express their true natures, however volatile or prickly. This piece was sublime and is becoming more so the further I get from it.

Antic Meet, from 1958, was interesting to see in comparison to the other works and in anti-chronology. Ah, here are those pesky 4th releve walks. Poor Achilles heels, thank you for persisting so that we can see a sampling of this work one last time.

Antic Meet, as the title suggests, was a romp. It’s a classroom-step ballet that uses props and cute little scenarios to show off Merce’s technique and the virtuosity of the dancers. He cleverly inserted a bit with something that looked like a Christmas sweater on crack. A male dancer stands center upstage and grapples with it over his head. It’s many arms offer opportunities for personal entanglement as well as hilarious interactions with a corps of pouf-clad women. It is a comedic homage to Graham and her dance Lamentation. Merce, too, responds to his forebears.

There was a section called A Single that offered a moment of depth amongst the levity. The same male dancer who just sweater wrestled is this time clad in white coveralls. He resembles an artist at rest as he sort of soft shoes in a quietly presentational way. At one point I think I detected a waving gesture. It was like Merce himself was having a final word, with us, with himself. A farewell filled with poignant delicacy.

This Legacy Tour means that the company is gracefully disbanding. Come December 31 of this year Merce Cunningham Dance Company will be no longer. It is fascinating to witness this transition, an unprecedented closing up shop while preserving the work digitally and even providing career transition grants to the artists who’ve dedicated swaths of precious career time to Merce’s vision. Legacy indeed, Merce was a visionary to the last.

Cataloguing performance: How to catch lightning in a bottle

Performance is by nature fleeting. It’s also an inherently interactive thing, both experiential and situational. The congeniality of the venue and its relation to the set design, the  mood of the performers, the vibe and make-up of the audience, even the weather outside that day – all are variables which affect the tenor and character […]

Performance is by nature fleeting. It’s also an inherently interactive thing, both experiential and situational. The congeniality of the venue and its relation to the set design, the  mood of the performers, the vibe and make-up of the audience, even the weather outside that day – all are variables which affect the tenor and character of a given show, rendering each iteration of a performance work as unique and ephemeral as a proverbial snowflake.

If you’re a museum which “collects” performing arts, where does this leave you?

One can capture something enduring, and representative about a performed work. There are the surrounding accoutrements, of course: set pieces and design elements, costumes, rehearsal and staging notes, musical scores, installation instructions, marketing and promotional materials, programs and playbills. And then you have documentary records: production photographs, video, and sometimes even extensive, interactive digital archives juxtaposing several re-creations of a given “piece” or a single artist’s body of work, evolving over time.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company performing Antic Meet (1958), with costumes and décor by Robert Rauschenberg Courtesy Cunningham Dance Foundation

In addition to these, there are critical and audience responses to the work – the public discourse performance generates, which makes its own, auxiliary and enduring cultural contribution. Those responses include the criticism published by traditional media outlets (e.g. magazines, newspapers, online arts magazines, and alt-weeklies), but also less formal but increasingly influential platforms – the sort of audience response one finds shared on blogs or among “friends” and “followers” in social media circles.

Up until now, it’s been that larger conversation about the transient experience that has given a performance work its own brand of cultural immortality, providing both context for and narrative about that shared moment in time which may linger long past a show’s run time. Those stories we tell each other about performed works, whatever newfangled media we use to do so, are how we’ve stored those passing experiences.

Memory and shared conversation – those have really been the tried and true ways to catch that lightning in a bottle.

##

When we think about institutional collections, the very language of “acquisition” centers on the object – things you can tag, box up, and keep in storage until such time as they’re brought out and installed for display, good as new and virtually unchanged. But in the last 50 years, museums the world over have broadened their collections to include performance, numbering works by the likes of Tino Seghal, Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown, Marina Abramovic, or Eiko & Koma among their acquisitions.

Eiko & Koma, "Studies for Naked ", 2010 Photo: Anna Lee Campbell. "Naked" is a Walker Art Center commission and was developed in part during a creative residency at the Park Avenue Armory in New York during the summer and fall of 2010.

Unlike the straightforward, transactional nature of object acquisition, when a museum commissions a performance work from an artist, “it’s more like seed money, an investment in an artist’s career; in exchange they promise that they’ll use those funds to make something” which the institution, upon the work’s completion, has an enduring stake in, says Michele Steinwald, assistant curator for performing arts at the Walker Art Center.

So, how might an institution like Walker Art Center catalogue and archive its performing arts acquisitions? What does it even mean to “catalogue performance”? What sort of information do you gather, how do you frame it, and in what format do you keep it?  Who’s going to use it and for what purpose? Where does re-creation of performance fit into the discussion? To what extent is the artist brought in to determine the archive’s constituent or narrative elements? What sorts of tools and software might be helpful in creating such a thing?

For the institution grappling with these questions, it really boils down to a simple but thorny issue: If you’re in the business of acquiring performance work what, exactly, is being collected? What do you keep as its token, and to what end?

This week, the Walker is hosting a conference tackling just these questions: the center has invited twenty-some people in the field who are immediately invested in their resolution – archivists, curators, presenters, art historians – to spend the day ginning up some ideas together, both practical and philosophical, that might offer some new ways to think about “cataloguing” performance and other multidisciplinary, ephemeral works. Robin Dowden, Director of Mew Media Initiatives at the Walker and one of the organizers of the conference, says, “We really don’t know what all this means yet. We’re hoping to learn from the experts in the room and from the insights that emerge from their conversations  in tomorrow’s workshop.”

Big Dance Theater, "Supernatural Wife", commissioned by the Walker Art Center. Photo by Mike Van Sleen

Sarah Schultz, from the Walker’s Education and Community Programs department, observes, “It comes down to a question of how to document and hold on to an inherently temporal event; it’s the difference between a collection of facts about a performance and the experience itself. You can’t collect an experience, but maybe with multiple sources and perspectives on it, you can document a performance thoroughly enough to offer a kind of approximation after the fact.”

The topic of “cataloguing performance” is especially timely for the Walker, given this year’s Merce Cunningham acquisition and opening of the related exhibition (a vast collection of sets, props, costumes, and selected documentation of the visionary choreographer, who was known for his collaborations with numerous leading visual and musical artists and designers of the past 60 years). In addition, as part of the Getty’s Online Scholarly Catalogue project, with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, the Walker is working to develop and manage replicable catalogue software for its performing arts collection within CollectionSpace. The hope is that the observations and insights from the gathered, shared expertise offered by those participating in this week’s conference might help inform the museum’s efforts in those endeavors as well.

Check back here over the next few days — I’ll be reporting from the workshop Friday to share some of the big themes and nuts-and-bolts ideas alike that come out of the group’s sessions throughout the day. Then afterward, I’ll do my best to synthesize what I’ve learned from them, and distill any big-picture themes one could take away from the day’s confab.

Art’s a slippery thing — increasingly interdisciplinary and collaborative, rich with experience-based cross-pollinations. The issues of cataloguing performance and other ephemeral art aren’t going away any time soon. And these questions aren’t just pertinent for museum professionals. With the move to digitize museum collections and archives, to make them universally accessible, what was once the privileged and insular domain of specialists, curators, and presenters is becoming ever more democratic. Soon enough, we’ll all have access to much of the information in these records. So, the priorities and boundary lines set by institutions about, say, performance — the definitions of terms and the narratives that will give museums a way to classify performing arts, as their shared institutional taxonomy toolkits are developed — will surely become the intellectual seeds that grow to shape the way we think and talk about such work in the larger cultural conversation, too.

##

Related link: For a thoughtful perspective on the issue, and a window into the day-to-day practice and decision-making involved in such cataloguing work, read Brooke Kellaway’s recent interview on the Walker Blogs with Coventry University professor Sarah Whatley, about the development of the digital dance archive Siobhan Davies Replay.

Susannah Schouweiler serves as editor for the weekly updated arts writing and criticism published on mnartists.org, as well as the site’s twice-monthly e-mag access+ENGAGE. She has also written for a number of outlets, including Ruminator magazine, MinnPost.com, City Pages, The Rake, Minneapolis Observer, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts blog.

From the Archives: Merce Cunningham & The Walker, 1990 – present

Leading up to the MCDC Farewell Tour performances this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, here’s the third of three posts looking back on more than 50 years of Merce at the Walker and around the Twin Cities (previous posts here: From the Archives: Merce Cunningham 1972-1989 and here From the Archives: Merce Cunningham 1948-1969).     […]

Leading up to the MCDC Farewell Tour performances this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, here’s the third of three posts looking back on more than 50 years of Merce at the Walker and around the Twin Cities (previous posts here: From the Archives: Merce Cunningham 1972-1989 and here From the Archives: Merce Cunningham 1948-1969).

 

Merce Cunningham Dance Company performs at the Arena Health Club in the Target Center as part of WAC residency in 1993

 

Talking Dance with Merce Cunningham, David Vaughan, Philip Bither and Philippe Vergne in Walker Art Center Auditorium, September, 1998

 

Merce Cunningham Danc company performs at event for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden 10th Anniversary Minneapolis, September 12 1998

Program for Minneapolis Sculpture Garden 10th Anniversary Event, 1998

Installation view from Art Performs Life: Merce Cunningham/Meredith Monk/Bill T. Jones, June 28 - Sep't. 20, 1998

 

Merce Cunningham Dance Company perform Ocean in Rainbow Quarry at Waite Park, September 11 - 13, 2008

 

Merce Cunningham Dance Company perform Ocean in Rainbow Quarry at Waite Park, September 11 - 13, 2008

 

Merce Cunningham Dance Company perform Ocean in Rainbow Quarry at Waite Park, September 11 - 13, 2008

MCϟDC at WAC: A seriously tour-hearty dance company

As Merce Cunningham Dance Company‘s tech crew was loading in this morning, I caught a sneak peek at the costumes and backdrops being set up for this week’s show at Walker — and the last tour of the MCDC company before they disband. Chatting with Kevin Taylor, dancer and MCDC company manager, I noticed this […]

As Merce Cunningham Dance Company‘s tech crew was loading in this morning, I caught a sneak peek at the costumes and backdrops being set up for this week’s show at Walker — and the last tour of the MCDC company before they disband.

Chatting with Kevin Taylor, dancer and MCDC company manager, I noticed this killer stencil identifying the many crates that house the performance elements as they tour around the world. A tech with a great sense of humor and a love of rock and roll made the stamp in the ’90′s for the equally tour-hearty MCDC company.

This case is going to Moscow today:

A case holding the famous chair from the work Antic Meet:

A bin of yoga gear:

The drop for Pond Way being unfurled:


*This week’s performance of the Farewell Legacy Tour with MCDC is Nov. 4-6, tickets are available for a limited time here.

 

 

Previous