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DANCING LAB: IMMERSIVE MEDIA THROUGH CUNNINGHAM

PRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR CHOREOGRAPHY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON 

 

AUGUST 1-7, 2019

“Dance is an art in space and time. The object of the dancer is to obliterate that.”

 – Merce Cunningham (1919-2009)

This Dancing Lab brought together dancers and technologists around the work of American choreographer Merce Cunningham. The week's research and events were led by Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener (both former Cunningham dancers, now choreographers and performers) and Choreographic Research Consulting (CRC).

Dancing Lab: Immersive Media through Cunningham was part of the Cunningham Centenniala full year of programming around the world celebrating a century of Merce Cunningham's work and artistic legacy.

Events are listed below. 

Dancing Conversation: A Dance History of Emerging Technology

Saturday, August 3, 2019 — 2pm-3pm

Akron Art Museum, 1 South High Street, Akron OH

Choreographer and Lecturer at Brown University, Sydney Skybetter, presented his research on the intersections of gesture, dance and computer science history. With case studies drawing from ballet history, Facebook's Oculus platform and early motion capture research conducted with choreographers Merce Cunningham and Bill T. Jones, Skybetter sketched a vision of the evolution of contemporary technologies undergirded by dance theory and choreographic method.

Attendees joined artists afterwards at Chill Ice Cream in downtown Akron for the latest collaboration: as Merce Cunningham often referred to the the I-Ching or rolled dice to determine the organization of steps, Chill offered "Chance Cream" between July 31-August 7. 

Six different flavors were assigned to each side of a die. Customers opting for "Chance Cream" rolled the dice to determine which ice cream combo they received. The flavors included: Vanilla Cloud, Double Dark Blackout Chocolate, Honey Lavender, Strawberry Nesquik, Black Raspberry Ricotta Cheese, and Vegan Milk Chocolate. 

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Celebrate Merce Cunningham's Choreography

Presented by NCCAkronDANCECleveland, and the Akron Art Museum.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 — 6pm-8pm

Akron Art Museum, 1 South High Street, Akron OH

6 pm: Audience members had the opportunity to learn about Merce’s unique artistic expression through a discussion with Ken Tabachnick, Director of the Merce Cunningham Trust & Knight Foundation President, Alberto Ibargüen.

6:45 pm:  A performance in the galleries of Fielding Sixes* by Malpaso Dance Company, the first Cuban contemporary dance company to be given a Cunningham work. The performance was followed a Cunningham Event of Solos danced by Katharine Helen Fisher, Jessica Liu, Daniel McCusker, Cori Kresge, Eleanor Hullihan, and Joshua Tuason.

 

What is the Centennial?
The Centennial marks what would have been the great Merce Cunningham's 100th birthday. It is a celebration of a century of artistic expression through events, presentations, and discussions about Merce, dance, and his influence on culture. 

About Merce Cunningham
Merce Cunningham was one of the greatest American dance artists. His seven-decade career was distinguished by constant innovation in which he expanded the frontiers of contemporary art, visual arts, performing arts, and music. He created more than 180 repertory dances and more than 700 Events, in which he knit together movement phrases from past and future works into a choreographic event that could be performed anywhere. mercecunningham.org

About Choreographic Research Consulting (CRC)

Choreographic Research Consulting (CRC) brings a cross disciplinary expertise to solve problems around technology, choreographics, and ethics. The group produces the annual Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces, at Brown University, which convenes dancers, technologists, and scholars to explore how their disciplines can come together to make the next generation of bodily technology an equitable and just one. www.choreotech.com 

Dancing Lab: Immersive Media through Cunningham is made possible with a project grant from the Knight Foundation.

Photo Credits: Malpaso Dance in Fielding Sixes, photographed by Nir Arieli; Cunningham at work, photographer unknown, courtesy the Cunningham Trust.