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2019-07-19T18:30:00~~~2019-07-20T12:30:00~~~2019-07-20T15:00:00~~~2019-07-25T20:00:00~~~2019-07-26T20:00:00~~~2019-07-27T13:30:00~~~2019-07-27T14:30:00~~~2019-07-27T15:00:00
16th Annual Modern Dance Festival at the Modern: Celebrating the Merce Cunningham Centennial~~~Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth
16th Annual Modern Dance Festival at the Modern: Celebrating the Merce Cunningham Centennial
Open now through Sat, Jul 27
Next performance on Fri, Jul 19 at 6:30pm
Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
3200 Darnell Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107


817-922-0944

16 annual Modern Dance Festival at The Modern:  Celebrating the Merce Cunningham Centennial

Presented by Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth in collaboration with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

July 12-27, 2019

Where:  Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth, TX  76107

Admission:  FREE

CD/FW Phone:  817-922-0944

CD/FW e-mail:  cdfw@cdfw.org

Modern Phone:  817-738-9215

This year, 2019, is a Centennial year of celebration of Merce Cunningham's birth. April 16, 2019 marked choreographer/dancer Merce Cunningham’s 100th birthday, and we are taking the time to reflect on Cunningham’s work and his legacy as one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century.

Cunningham was known for his groundbreaking experiments in collaboration with artists from other disciplines. Cunningham’s conscious removal of his own personality in decision-making, left the experience of character, emotion, and story in his choreography to the experience of the viewer, which was complementary to the sensibilities and experiments of his contemporaries in the visual arts. Some of his most notable collaborators are represented in the permanent collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, including Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. So it is most fitting that Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth’s 16th annual Modern Dance Festival at The Modern would tie-in to the international celebration of this seminal artist.

Within a 16-day window at The Modern, a variety of films, videos, lectures, “happenings” or “events” and performances will be offered in the Grand Lobby, the Museum Auditorium, and Gallery 14.  Content directly representing Cunningham’s work is provided courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust.

Highlights will include:

Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event– With the original performances having taken place on April 16th in New York City, Los Angeles, and London, the edited versions of this largest Cunningham Event ever will be displayed simultaneously in the Museum Auditorium, the Grand Lobby, and Gallery 14 on the following dates:

 

 

The full schedule:

 

WEEKEND 1 – Friday July 12, Saturday July 13, Sunday July 14

 

Friday, July 12, 2019

6:30 pm, Grand Lobby

Performance of Dance and Music

The Texas New Music Ensemble (Houston) will be highlighted, with Dallas flautist Meg Griffith performing works by TNME composers:  Chad Robinson (TNME Artistic Director), Joel Love, Till Meyn, Marcus Maroney, and Rob Smith.  Smith will premiere a new work in a Cage-Cunningham-type collaboration with Loris Anthony Beckles (Beckles Dancing Company, Dallas).  Pairings will include experiments in simultaneity of art forms with guest choreographers/dancers performing to works they have not previously heard, including appearances by Collette Stewart (Madison, WI), Tina Mullone (LA/TX), Jessica Thomas (Celina, TX), and Mysti Jace Pride (Austin).  Additional works include an original duet by Julia Nova Cognito and her husband James Cognito blending ideas from the ballroom dance world with inspiration from Merce Cunningham’s work “Duets” with accompaniment by Fort Worth composer John Hopkins; and Jordan Fuchs’ (Denton) presentation of a segment of his 2019 work Once We Were Afraid of Being Changed. That is Done. with sound score by Andy Russ (Providence, former Music Supervisor for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company).  The program will close with Echoes of 4’33”: To Perform Or Not To Perform, That Is The Question, Asked and Partially Answered in about 10 minutes, Give or Take a Bit -- a whimsical structured improvisation in honor of John Cage designed by CD/FW artistic director Kerry Kreiman, variations of this framework will “not” be performed by volunteers from the audience and various human beings with or without previous non-performing experience.  This non-performance is in honor of composer John Cage’s controversial work 4’33” which premiered in 1952, and which instructs the performer(s) not to play their instrument(s) throughout the piece. This playful tribute will shift from a non-performance to some impromptu “noise music” for the un-grand finale.

 

Saturday, July 13, 2019 

12:30 pm, Museum Auditorium

“If The Dancer Dances”

Film screening and discussion with guest Gus Solomons jr

“If The Dancer Dances” (2019, 87 minutes – a documentary film by Lise Friedman and Maia Wechsler, edited by Mary Manhardt) follows one of New York City’s top modern dance companies as they struggle to reconstruct an iconic and mysterious work by the legendary Merce Cunningham, revealing what it takes to keep a dance – and a legacy – alive.  But, unlike other live arts, dance has no script or score.  Instead, dance is transmitted from body to body, one generation to the next.  With unprecedented access, If the Dancer Dances delves into this intimate, unfolding process, as Merce Cunningham’s 1968 RainForest is brought to life once again.  Starring the Stephen Petronio Company and members of the former Merce Cunningham Dance Company, including:  Stephen Petronio, Gus Solomons jr, Andrea Weber, Davalois Fearon, and Gino Grenek.  RainForest (as performed by the Stephen Petronio Company, 2015-2017) features music by David Tudor, décor by Andy Warhol, lighting design by Aaron Copp and costume design after the original design by Jasper Johns.  Timed to coincide with Cunningham’s Centennial, If the Dancer Dances is the first documentary on the subject of Cunningham’s work since his passing in 2009.  Guest speaker Gus Solomons jr (a former Cunningham company member who is featured in the film) will participate in a Q&A with the audience via Skype immediately following the film.

 

3 pm to 4:30 pm, three Museum locations

“Night of 100 Solos” screenings

Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event– With the original performances taking place on April 16th in New York City, Los Angeles, and London, the edited versions of this largest Cunningham Event ever will be displayed simultaneously in three locations:

Museum Auditorium -- New York City

Grand Lobby -- London

Gallery 14 -- Los Angeles

Note:  Guest speaker Gus Solomons jr (a former Cunningham company member, choreographer, writer and dance critic) will introduce the screening of the New York City location video via Skype in the Museum Auditorium.  Solomons was at the April 16th performance, and he will provide some context and background for the audience.

 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

1 pm, Grand Lobby

Performance of Dance and Music

The premieres of several composer/choreographer collaborations will be featured:

Alisa Behrens (Birmingham, AL, former CD/FW company member and former director of the dance program at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts) returns to Fort Worth to premiere “Two and Two” with Oklahoma-based musician Andy Behrens (her brother).

Arlington composer George Chave is paired with Grand Prairie choreographer Lacie Minyard Sereika to create a new work for Momentum Dance Company (Irving).  Momentum will also premiere “Partita,” a new group work by choreographer Ian Forcher (Irving) in collaboration with Brent Fariss of the New Music Co-op (Austin).  Fariss will also a new sound score for Kiera Amison’s trio “edikSHen” to be performed by Muscle Memory Dance Theatre (M2DT, Dallas).

Flatlands Dance Theatre (Lubbock) will premiere a new chance dance variation of a previously performed group work entitled “Havillah” – choreographer Allison Beaty and composer Neemias Santos are re-shuffling all of the content and applying chance determination to create a new structure from the original material.

Choreographer Jessica Thomas (Celina, TX) and composer David Bacon (Celina, TX) will premiere “Chance Divided by 2- #1” and “Chance Divided by 2- # 2” – an in the moment exploration on the nature of chance in two parts. One musician and one dancer merge together on the spot, riding the happenstance moments of movement, rhythm and sound from classical instruments and everyday objects.

Spoken word artist Tammy Gomez (Fort Worth) will share "Current thoughts" including memories of when she saw Cunningham & Cage in Austin.

 

In addition, Collette Stewart (Madison) will perform a chance dance variation of her solo “Dissolution” in silence after allowing audience members to draw playing cards to determine the order of the dance.

Also, Julia Nova Cognito and her husband James Cognito will reprise their Friday premiere, blending ideas from the ballroom dance world with inspiration from Merce Cunningham’s work “Duets” with accompaniment by Fort Worth composer John Hopkins.

The program will close with a new incarnation of Echoes of 4’33”: To Perform Or Not To Perform, That Is The Question, Asked and Partially Answered in about 10 minutes, Give or Take a Bit –(see Friday July 12 description).

 

WEEKEND 2 – Friday July 19, Saturday July 20

 

Friday, July 19, 2019

6:30 pm, Grand Lobby

Performance of Dance and Music

Special guest Tamsin Carlson will perform the Merce Cunningham solos she learned for the Los Angeles performance of the Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event [See description near top of press release].  Both opening and closing the program, she'll perform the solos two different ways, with chance elements determining how they are performed. Additional performances will include choreography by Kali Taft Johnson (Kaliopi Movement Collective), Kerry Kreiman (CD/FW), and Jessica Thomas (Celina, TX).  Special musical guests from Austin’s New Music Co-Op:  composers Andrew Stoltz and Travis Weller will perform on “The Owl” (an instrument created by Weller).

 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

12:30 pm, Museum Auditorium

“Viola Farber and the Cunningham Legacy”

Screening of “Brazos River” and discussion with guest Jeff Slayton

A rare glimpse into The Modern’s archive, “Brazos River” (60 minutes) features the Viola Farber Dance Company in a special project which originated in Fort Worth.  Shot in December 1976, this collaborative video features choreography by Viola Farber, music by David Tudor, and costumes/set by Robert Rauschenberg. The project was conceived by the Fort Worth Art Museum's Performing Arts Director, Anne Livet, in conjunction with their Texas Bicentennial program, and was co-produced by KERA-TV Channel 13, Dallas-Fort Worth.  According to the Rauschenberg Foundation, this project marked Rauschenberg's first use of video, and he spent time working with studio technicians to understand what colors could be best transmitted on television.  Funding for the initial project included support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the Fort Worth Art Museum, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Directed by Dan Parr.  Dancers featured: Jumay Chu, Larry Clark, Viola Farber, Willi Feuer, June Finch, Anne Koren, Susan Matheke, Andé Peck, and Jeff Slayton.  Guest speaker Jeff Slayton will introduce the video and lead a Q&A with the audience.  Farber and Slayton were members of the Cunningham company for many years, and this project is a perfect example of how Cunningham's work impacted the work of dancers who came out of his company.  Special thanks to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth for contributing this work from their archives.

Slayton will also introduce a screening of Farber’s “January” (26 minutes) – Directed by Kevin Crooks in 1984, the Viola Farber Dance Company collaborated with TSW LTD to record her group work “January" at Dartington Hall in Devon, UK.

 

2:45 pm, Museum Auditorium

Introduction to the “Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event” screenings

Guest speakers Tamsin Carlson (featured performer from the Los Angeles location), Jeffrey Slayton (L.A. dance critic and former Cunningham company member), and Ken Tabachnik (executive director of the Merce Cunningham Trust), will give introductory remarks, background, and context regarding this special Event in honor of Merce Cunningham’s 100th birthday.  In addition, all three will be available for audience Q&A immediately following the screening of the Los Angeles performance.

 

3 pm to 4:30 pm, three museum locations

“Night of 100 Solos” screenings

Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event– With the original performances taking place on April 16th in New York City, Los Angeles, and London, the edited versions of this largest Cunningham Event ever will be displayed simultaneously in three locations:

Museum Auditorium -- Los Angeles

Grand Lobby -- New York City

Gallery 14 -- London

 

WEEKEND 3 – Thursday July 25, Friday July 26, Saturday July 27

 

Thursday, July 25, & Friday, July 26, 2019

8 pm, Grand Lobby

Performance of Dance and Music

Composer/choreographer collaborative premieres featured will include:

Lynn Lane and Jennifer Mabus of The Transitory Sound and Movement Collective (Houston) will perform "An Echo of Nothing." The title is taken from the John Cage quote, "Every something is an echo of nothing."

 

“Blind Collaboration” a collaboration between composer German Lopez (Dallas) and choreographer Anna Preston (Preston Contemporary Dance Theatre, South Florida).  Through a chance drawing it was determined that the new group work will be 7:35 in length.

 

Muscle Memory Dance Theatre (Dallas) will perform artistic director Lesley Snelson’s quartet “Unveil Me” to a new sound score entitled "Heuristic Manifestations" by Fort Worth composer John Hopkins.  Decisions about the harmonic and melodic content, a free parameter and a textual prompt will be extracted from an I Ching reading. The yins and yangs will be assembled into the free parameter number and a code that will select one of 8 songs popular in the year of Merce Cunningham’s birth, 1919. Audience members who arrive early may have the opportunity to influence the outcome of the music for the dance by participating in the I Ching reading with the composer. 

 

“I’m tired of talking about race” - a new duet by Mel Mobley and Tina Mullone of M2 (Monroe, LA) based on a mesostic generated in a similar fashion to John Cage’s mesostics. Using names to create spine words and then chance procedures to populate the poetry read across, the music and dance that surround and accompany the poetry were built on the same chance procedures and the resulting text choices. Though most of the poem is read throughout the performance of the work, certain lines are left unspoken in homage to John Cage’s predilection for silence.

 

Choreographer Claudia Orcasitas (Fort Worth) is paired with composer Andrew Stoltz (Austin’s New Music Co-Op) for the premiere of her work “In transit" based on various combinations of solos determined through chance procedures.  Immediately prior to the performance, the dancers will use a chance drawing to determine which solo they will perform within the work. Inspired by Cunningham’s unconventional ways to make dances, Orcasitas is using chance elements to explore the endless possibilities of human connections within a specific place and time frame. While Cunningham's work emphasized abstracted movement without character or story line, Orcasitas is interested in seeing how the chance elements might create their own “story” in the viewer’s mind. 

Additional works include a group structure by Kerry Kreiman (CD/FW) in collaboration with the performers:  Cher Anabo, Courtney Mulcahy, Tina Mullone, Claudia Orcasitas, and Jessica Thomas.

 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

1:30 pm, Museum Auditorium

Subject vs. Object:  Can Dance Be Abstract?

Lecture-performance and discussion exploring questions at the heart of the development of modern and contemporary dance.  Attendees are invited to bring their questions and observations to a conversation led by CD/FW artistic director Kerry Kreiman.  Experiments in trying to see human beings “abstractly” on the stage will be conducted in honor of the twentieth century dance maverick Daniel Nagrin, using some of the techniques he used to teach choreography and performance.

2:30 pm, Grand Lobby

“Found, 1972, an Open Audience Pedestrian Dance” designed by performance artist Laney Yarber. Inspired by source materials from NYC-based post-modern choreographers of the 1960’s and 70’s, Yarber’s performance structure pays homage to aesthetics established by former Cunningham company members such as Yvonne Rainer and Steve Paxton, along with cultural and aesthetic influences from Taoist master Mantak Chia, Dutch sound artist Jaap Blonk, and Russian director/actor/producer Vsevolod Meyerhold’s actor training system of “biomechanics” (which was a precursor to much of the “physical theatre” of the 20th Century).  In the post-modern tradition, the purpose and boundaries of all art forms were tested to their limits, including what may or may not constitute a “dance.”  Performers include: Clancy Manuel (sound creation), Tim King, Brian Patrick McCarthy, Katrina Perez-Titze, Jeffrey Pulis, Susan V. Taylor, and Laney Yarber.  Volunteers from the audience will be invited to participate in a follow-the-leader fashion led by the performers.

 

3 pm to 4:30 pm, three Museum locations

 “Night of 100 Solos” screenings

Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event– With the original performances taking place on April 16th in New York City, Los Angeles, and London, the edited versions of this largest Cunningham Event ever will be displayed simultaneously in three locations:

Museum Auditorium -- London

Grand Lobby -- Los Angeles

Gallery 14 -- New York City

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16th Annual Modern Dance Festival at the Modern: Celebrating the Merce Cunningham Centennial
Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth

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