Cunningham Programme: For Four Walls, RainForest and Sounddance
The National Choreography Centre – Ballet de Lorraine, directed by Petter Jacobsson, brings to the Mercat de les Flors a programme of three pieces by the great American choreographer Merce Cunningham.
The National Choreography Centre – Ballet de Lorraine, directed by Petter Jacobsson, brings to the Mercat de les Flors a programme of three pieces by the great American choreographer Merce Cunningham, who continues to be a point of reference for numerous generations of creators. The works we shall see are For Four Walls, a piece with 24 dancers and music by John Cage played live; RainForest, with a set designed by Andy Warhol, 6 dancers and 2 musicians playing live, and Sounddance, with 10 dancers.
The original piece, Four Walls, was a creation with text and choreography by Merce Cunningham and a composition for solo piano by John Cage. After it was premiered in 1944 with just one single performance, the piece was lost and forgotten. The structure is based on contrasts: loud-quiet, high-low pitch, etc., with a psychological intensity quite unusual in Cage. This piece preceded the one that we identify as the work by Cage/Cunningham. Here we encounter their youth, full of introspection and conflicting emotions. For Four Walls, a new choreography by Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley, represents the desire to travel through the space, the individual and the history we share. The choreographers say: “We do not see For Four Walls as the recreation of the lost original, but as a situation that ought to make it possible for its own history and our history with Merce Cunningham to be reflected in it.”
Sounddance could easily be considered the piece by Merce Cunningham most appreciated by audiences and critics alike. Cunningham created this work after spending nine weeks in the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris, where he created the show Un Jour ou Deux, in 1973. Back with his dancers, he wished to conceive a work totally opposed to the uniformity and the unisonous nature of ballet. He therefore choreographed an “organized chaos”, very fast and full of vigour.
The title RainForest comes from the childhood memories that Merce Cunningham had of the US northwest and the rainforest characteristic of the Olympic Peninsula. This piece differed from the rest of Cunningham’s work due to the fact that, except for him, all the other dancers (6) performed their role and then left the stage, never to return. Andy Warhol gave Cunningham permission to use his installation Silver Clouds, some polyethylene terephthalate (PET) cushions inflated with helium so that they would float freely in the air.
The show is complemented with the parallel activity Una Hora Abans del Programa Cunningham, by the Ballet de Lorraine, on 20 March at 6 pm in the sala Sebastià Gasch of Mercat de les Flors.
Show scheduled by Mercat de les Flors