Merce Cunningham Collection – Volume 1

Directors: Merce Cunningham & Elliot Caplan
Publisher: éditions à voir (2003)

Runtime: 81 minutes
Language: English
Format: All regions
ISBN13: 978 9 085140 01 6

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Merce Cunningham has choreographed both the dancers and the camera for a rendition of three of his well-known pieces. Deli Commedia (1985), Changing Steps (1989) and Beach Birds for Camera (1993) are all between 18-28 minutes long and have been documented here to allow the viewer to experience all three dances in a revolutionary new way.

Camera space presents a challenge. It has clear limits, but it also gives opportunities of working with dance that are not available on the stage. The camera takes a fixed view, but it can be moved. There is the possibility of cutting to a second camera which can change the size of the dancer, which, to my eye, also affects the time, the rhythm of the movement. It also can show dance in a way not possible on the stage: that is, the use of detail which in the reader context of theater does not appear. Working with video and film also gives me the opportunity to rethink certain technical elements. For example, the speed with which one catches an image on the television made me introduce into our class work different elements of movement concerned with tempos which added a new dimension to our general class work behavior.
Merce Cunningham