Exchange / © Michel Cavalca
Exchange / Scenario
- Opéra de Lyon
- 1 hour 45 minutes
Created at an interval of 20 years, Exchange and Scenario are emblematic of the work of this grand master of contemporary dance, whose approach to gestures and the introduction of chance into his choreographies revolutionised the discipline.
Merce Cunningham is the choreographer who laid down the bases of post-modern dance, as early as the 1940s, by working with the interdisciplinary avant-garde of his era. But also by introducing variations based on chance into his creations. With him, movement and gesture, placed back at the centre of everything, became pure emotion.
Chance and variations
With Exchange, which premiered in 1978, with sets designed by Jasper Johns and music by David Tudor, Merce Cunningham transposed the working method of the composer John Cage. In other words, a series of variations applied to repeated motifs. Here, there are 64 phrases of variable lengths and complexity: half the dancers execute a series of movements which are then taken up by the other half, in a second part, then by all the dancers in a third section in a random order.
For Scenario, which premiered in 1997, Cunningham began a collaboration with the couturier Rei Kawakubo who, as well as the set and lighting, designed costumes that modified the dancers’ figures and movements, which the choreographer included in his initial composition : a series of duets and trios which become quartets then quintets and sextets. This particularity allowed him to make the gestures ungraspable once more, by doubling them up, thanks to his work using the software DanceForms, thus resulting in a complex articulation between the different parts of the body.
As part of the series of festivities for the hundredth birthday of Merce Cunningham by the Cunningham Foundation
Takehisa Kosugi, Wave Code A-Z
Sets, costumes and lighting
Concept and advisor
Banu Ogan, Jamie Scott & Andrea Weber
Ballet de l'Opéra de Lyon