Art does not seek to describe but to enact. —Charles Olson

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Merce Cunningham

In March 2005 Stanford University was host to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for a week-long residency and tribute to Cunningham. This was an intensely inspiring and moving event: we had the opportunity to see Cunningham speak several times, in various interviews and panel discussions; and to watch the company perform and rehearse. Further high points included the participation of Christian Wolff as accompanying musician to the company, performing John Cage’s Music for Piano and ASLSP with Cunningham’s dances, as well as speaking to Mark Applebaum’s undergraduate composition class and participating in the opening night “happening” with dancers Jonah Bokaer and Julie Cunningham.

If Cunningham’s dance still seems to us preeminently interesting, other dance we like comes from some of the choreographers that emerged from the Judson Church—Trisha Brown, the contact improvisation of Steve Paxton in collaboration with Nancy Stark Smith…; though there’s also Astaire and Rogers, “Bojangles” Robinson, the Nicholas Brothers…