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Merce Cunningham Dance Company

'Way Station,' 'Loose Time,' 'How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run'

by Cassandra

August 2002 -- Barbican Theatre, London.

Merce Cunningham’s programme II at the Barbican was made up of two very recent works dating from 2001 and 2002 respectively and a real “golden oldie” from the 60’s.

In the first work of the evening, “Way Station,” the dancers shared the stage with a group of multi coloured tripods looking like the exotic flora of another planet. The entire company danced around, between and under them occasionally seeming to regard them as giant umbrellas and sheltering beneath. The second and most recent work, “Loose Time,” struck me as an archetypal Cunningham piece of ensembles, duets and solos danced in front of a backdrop of a huge net. The highlight for me was a wonderful solo danced by Holley Farmer.

”How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run” was first created in 1965. The “music” credited to John Cage, consists of a series of amusing anecdotes related both singly and simultaneously at varying speeds by both Merce Cunningham himself and David Vaughan, while the dancers respond to the varying speech patterns. My problem with this wonderful work was that I was completely mesmerized by Cunningham himself and spent too much time watching him recite and too little time watching the dancers. I respond in the same way to Ashton’s “Wedding Bouquet.” It seems that the spoken word always engages my attention first at the expense of the action on stage. And when one of the narrators is a dance world colossus such as Cunningham I become seriously distracted.

 

Edited by Jeff.

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