The Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Joyce Theater, December 2004
The things in the story are symbols, as it were, only of themselves.
Richard Howard, on Chekhov
Experiencing one of Merce Cunningham’s Events is to see a seamless, intermissionless hour (or so) of dance excerpts, combined in a novel context; experiencing eight Events over a week is to receive a philosophy. Something about life, and how singular our points of view, and something about perception, and how it is colored by our surroundings. To see the same dance excerpt on successive nights with different costumes, decor, and music, with different things coming before it and after is to begin to understand the dance apart from these additional elements, as just dance itself. As steps, as phrases, as figures, as images, as particles and as waves, with movement the all and everything. And with stillness not the absence of all movement, but the presence of all movement, as white is the presence of all color.