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Memorial for Merce


On Monday I was told by Stephan Moore, one of the head sound engineers for Merce Cunningham, that there was a get together at the West Village studios. I brought my camera but the photos won't load, so I drew my favorite memory of the day:

Some of the people that came to the memorial were dancer "alumni" from the past 20 to 30 years. The organization decided to go ahead and hold a practice session and invited everyone to go to the main rehearsal space for the first stretching practice. I joined in, not knowing what to do but happy to be involved.  My favorite moment was when everyone, young and old, stretched to the left, perfectly synchronized from years of practice and experience from the best teacher of modern dance.  Their necks were elongated, their feet perfectly placed, and their fingers hanging lightly in the air. There was so much grace in the room. I tried to soak as much of it as I could.  Hoping that the grace would stay in my movements through the weekend.  

In the smaller studio space there were T.V.s set up with Merce's past performances and video footage of my residency. When I saw this I began to cry.  

Emotions like these make me think more about my constant practices of not recording for the sake of questioning the idea of ownership.  I didn't want to cry when I saw the old footage. The moment was gone and it remains in my memories and in my heart, which is what matters more than owning a copy of it. But I still had this human reaction to try to find and own the video.  I said it was for archival reasons, but inside I knew it was for the sake of the ego having "proof" of my participation with the company.  

When I asked the main administrator if I could get a copy, she said that I couldn't.  "it's only available on-line, all of the original footage from the dress rehearsal is somewhere at NYU waiting to be edited, and probably won't be for a long time."

And there it was, the taste of my own medicine. Bitter yet satisfying. I can't find it online.  And I'm glad.

I have always felt that Merce and I shared similar views when it came to owning and distributing works. And here I was, being confronted with the same situation that I have put others in for the past 2 almost 3 years.

This quote from Merce, pulled from his Obituary in the New York Times explains my philosophy completely:


You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. --Merce Cunningham  


I feel the same way about improvisation.  It's appreciating the moment rather than focusing on the future.

As Agnes Martin says, " The future is a blank page."  Who am I to try to fill it with false ideas that may never come to pass?

Merce, John Cage, Agnes Martin and so many other artists of the late 20th century preached the idea of the moment and presence.  This is why I am so inspired by their works.

Here are some photos from their flikr account, here is my proof. I hope my ego is satisfied, although, by it's nature, it never is:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcdc/

When I find the video I'll post it.  Or maybe not. Just to make my ego angry. 


WHEN AND WHERE I'LL BE 2010

May 15 2010

Brecht Forum with Gene Coleman

Brooklyn, New York, US



May 18 2010

Outpost 186, May 2010 Tour w/ Seeded Plain

Boston, Massachusetts, US



May 19 2010

Strange, May 2010 Tour with Seeded Plain

Portland, Maine


May 20 2010

L’Envers, May 2010 Tour w/ Seeded Plain

Montreal, Quebec, CA



May 21 2010

May 2010 Tour w/ Seeded Plain

Toronto, CA



May 22 2010

Dreamland Theater, May 2010 Tour w/ Seeded Plain

Detroit, Michigan



May 23 2010

Robinwood Concert House, May 2010 Tour w/ Seeded Plain

Toledo, Ohio


May 25 2010

Enemy, May 2010 Tour w/ Seeded Plain

Chicago, Illinois


May 26 2010

Sugar Maple, May 2010 Tour w/ Seeded Plain

Milwaukee, WI


May 27 2010

The Ritz Theater, May Tour 2010 w/ Seeded Plain

Minneapolis, MN



May 28 2010

Ames
Progressive, May 2010 Tour w/ Seeded Plain

Ames, Iowa



May 29 2010

Bemis Center, MAY 2010 Tour w/ Seeded Plain

Omaha, Nebraska



May 30 2010

Clawfoot House, May 2010 Tour w/ Seeded Plain

Lincoln, Nebraska



Jun 13 2010

Whitebox Gallery

NYC, New York



Jul 1 2010

Whitney Museum, Christian Marclay Retrospective w/ Marina Rosenfeld

NYC, New York



Jul 2 2010

Whitney Museum, Christian Marclay Retrospective w/ Elliot Sharp

NYC, New York



Jul 3 2010

Whitney Museum, Christian Marclay Retrospective w/ Elliot Sharp

NYC, New York



Jul 4 2010

Whitney Museum, Christian Marclay Retrospective w/ Elliot Sharp

NYC, New York



Jul 9 2010

Whitney Museum, Christian Marclay Retrospective w/ Marina Rosenfeld

NYC, New York



Jul 11 2010

Whitney Museum, Christian Marclay Retrospective w/ Alan Licht and Lee Ranaldo

NYC, New York

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