Baryshnikov Arts Center to Celebrate Early Works of Merce Cunningham, 5/18-19

Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) and the Merce Cunningham Trust present an evening of film and live performance celebrating Merce Cunningham's early collaborations that revolutionized art making in the 20th century, on May 18 and 19 at 7:00PM at BAC's Jerome Robbins Theater (450 W. 37th Street).

The program, Merce Cunningham Early Works, will include a screening of Cunningham Ballett 1958, featuring rare footage of solos and duets danced by Merce Cunningham and Carolyn Brown, with piano music performed by David Tudor and John Cage. The live performance component of the evening features former Cunningham dancer Silas Riener performing the N.Y. Premiere of the reconstructed solo Changeling (1957), and Vanessa Knouse and Benny Olk performing Suite for Two (1958). Pianist Stephen Drury plays the music for these dances, which are both featured in the film. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or by phone: / 866-811-4111.

The film Cunningham Ballett 1958, discovered in summer 2014 in the Norddeutscher Rundrunk Studio Hamburg (NDR) archives, features Merce Cunningham performing Changeling, and Cunningham with his longtime dance partner Carolyn Brown performing the duet from Suite for Two, and the duet version of Springweather and People, all filmed during a European tour. David Tudor and John Cage perform the music (Christian Wolff's Suite, Cage's Music for Piano, and Earle Brown's Indices), and costume designs are by Robert Rauschenberg and Remy Charlip.

In 2015, former Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) dancers Jean Freebury and Silas Riener set out to reconstruct the 1957 Changeling, which-prior to discovery of the film-had not been seen nor danced for more than six decades. At BAC, Riener will perform the N.Y. Premiere of their reconstruction of the solo, with Christian Wolff's Suite played by pianist Stephen Drury. The original Rauschenberg costume design is recreated by Jeffrey Wirsing.

Suite for Two (1958) was staged by former MCDC dancer Andrea Weber, in part, during a Spring 2016 BAC Space Artist Residency in the John Cage and Merce Cunningham Studio at BAC. Merce Cunningham Trust workshop participants Vanessa Knouse and Benny Olk will perform Suite for Two, comprised of the solos and duet from Suite for Five, with Cage's Music for Piano played by Drury. Costume design is by Rauschenberg.

Performance and Ticket Information

Merce Cunningham Early Works
Screening of Cunningham Ballett 1958
Live Performances of Changeling (1957) and Suite for Two (1958)

May 18-19, Wednesday-Thursday at 7PM

Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jerome Robbins Theater (450 W. 37th Street)

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or by phone: / 866 811 4111

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