While Merce Cunningham died in 2009 at age 90, he kept inspiring the work and passion of dance lovers. His 1991 Beach Birds is the result of his long, fruitful partnership with composer John Cage. This contemplative landscape sprinkles extensive groundwork with chance, mixes calculated and naturalistic motions; these signature, deliberate contradictions open the door for an array of feelings: experiment the softness of dawn, listen to the birds singing, feel the sound of the sea… To create BIPED in 1999, with music by Gavin Bryars, Cunningham generated movements using a computer software, producing a choreography for artificial shapes: giant, slender forms projected next to the people dancing on stage, multiplying moving figures and dimensions. The Merce Cunningham Forever programme, where the sensuous meets the abstract, renders the spirit of this modern dance master.
Created in 1991
Beach Birds was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Joyce’s death; the author was an inspiration for John Cage. In this contemplative landscape, precision opens the door to a vast array of feelings. Cage’s serene music is intertwined with Cunningham’s two-coloured figures, etching a delicate calligraphy onto the stage. Between motionless statues and birds light as feathers, the dancers create fluid figures, shaped and evolving into one another from duos to trios along everchanging rhythms. Experience the softness of dawn, listen to the birds singing, feel the sound of the sea, the seaweeds in motion… Beach Birds is a kaleidoscope of images and sensations “between rivers and oceans…”.
Created in 1999
Addition to the repertoire
BIPED, the new addition to the Ballet’s repertoire, was created using the motion generation software LifeForms. Cunningham thus produced an augmented choreography for artificial shapes: giant, slender forms projected next to the people dancing on stage. By multiplying moving figures and dimensions, BIPED is set to produce abstract forms (lines, points) making up a colourful drape upon which gazes tend to flutter. Reality and virtual worlds become intertwined in a tapestry threaded with light, enhanced by Gavin Bryars’ music, creating a utopic space of haphazard coordinates. The Merce Cunningham Forever programme, where the sensuous meets the abstract, renders the spirit of this modern dance master, “such as into Himself at last eternity changes him.”
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