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A Triptych for Merce Cunningham - Part II: Chosen Without Comment

by Mindy Aloff
August 8, 2009
A Triptych for Merce Cunningham -
Part I: Reflections on Merce Cunningham's Early Work by Yuriko, an original Martha Graham dancer and Merce colleague
Part II: Chosen Without Comment
Part III: The Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Rockefeller Park - The power and beauty of nature on stage and off
Merce Cunningham on Root of an Unfocus (score for prepared piano by John Cage):

"The title is mine. 'Unfocus' here refers to a disturbance of the mind, an imbalance; it's a photographic term which signifies a blur, an unclarity. It's one of the first solos I made. I was still concerned with expression. It was about fear. The dance was in three parts. The first part gave the impression of someone realizing there's something unknown. The second part shows the dancer struggling with this, but it's futile because there's nothing there. In the third part he is defeated by it. The ending was a series of falls and crawling off the stage. In a sense I was still making a conventional modern dance, with great differences of tempo between the three parts." (From the liner notes to the recording John Cage: The Complete Piano Music, Vol. I: "The Prepared Piano 1940-1952," Steffen Schleiermacher, prepared pianist.)



Previous:Part I: Reflections on Merce Cunningham's Early Work by Yuriko, an original Martha Graham dancer and Merce colleague
Next:Part III: The Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Rockefeller Park - The power and beauty of nature on stage and off
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