Invitation to Experiment and Join the Merce Cunningham Celebrations
In honour of Merce Cunningham's Legacy, Riverfront InterArts presents
Date to Be Announced
If you are interested in participating in this experiment/celebration, please contact Riverfront InterArts via email (info@riverfrontinterarts) for further details and to receive a formal application.
The Cunningham/Cage is based on Cunnigham’s use of collaboration and of chance and randomness as a creative tool. This experiment involves inviting local composers and choreographers and/or dance/movement theatre practitioners to perform live, together, and for the first time in a venue chosen by Riverfront InterArts. Selected compositions and choreographies/movement works will be paired at the beginning of the evening using the roll of a die and first time collaborative performances will occur immediately after. Participants are allowed one “restart” to attempt a successful “pairing”.
In the 1940s, Merce Cunningham and his life partner, composer John Cage, developed a radical new concept: music and dance could exist independently within the same performance. The dancers’ movements would no longer be tied to the rhythms, mood, and structure of music. Instead, all forms of art could stand alone, simply sharing a common space and time. This idea would become a cornerstone of Cunningham's artistic practice and frame his collaborations with a range of visual artists, composers, filmmakers, dancers, and designers, whom he brought together in this generous spirit and encouraged to experiment and create.
The Chance Taker
One of Merce Cunningham’s most influential strategies was his use of chance and randomness as a creative tool. Cunningham would often flip coins, roll dice, or even consult the I-Ching to guide the way he structured his choreography. This strategy, also favored by John Cage, challenged traditional notions of storytelling in dance. Cunningham described randomness as a way to free his imagination from its own clichés, counterbalancing his own rigorous creative process with unexpected moments of wonder.
More on Merce Cunningham.
Partial Application Requirements
New or “In Creation Process” Unheard Compositions (7-9 to be chosen)
New or “In Creation Process” Unseen Choreography or Dance/Movement Theatre Works (7-9 to be chosen)
Selected artists will not be paid as it is a Pay What You Are Able publicly accessible, all-ages event.
Header photo of Vox by David Hou