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Friday, April 28, 2017

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'Merce Cunningham and Robert Rauschenberg, revisited'

Princeton alumnus and professional dancer Silas Riener is teaching students Merce Cunningham choreography for two dance events. Read more.

Video Closed Captions

SILAS RIENER: The work of Merce Cunningham spanned over
fifty years of dance repertory that he created.

SILAS RIENER: It looks more like a collage of different
pieces that Merce choreographed, that I have

selected particularly for the Princeton students;
which comprises dance repertory from the 1960's

to the 2000's in Merce's work. And that's
what I've done both for the Princeton Art

Museum Event on February 14th and the Spring


ASAWARI SODHI: Talking to a lot of my friends about the Merce
Cunningham work, just because things like

digitally generated movements, that's something
you don't encounter every day.

AJ BRANNUM: In a way, you have to unlearn what you already
know in order to do this successfully. I don't

know, it always seems easier to start from
scratch than to have to really blow everything

apart, reassembling things in ways you'd never

SILAS RIENER: Even if you're coming out of the hinge to
go down, which is fine with me, go from here

to the next thing and that, I think, will
give you the stability, yes, exactly.

TESS BERHNARD: One of the great things about working with
Silas, pretty much in my dance experience

most dance teachers are retired performers.
Silas is so much in his prime, fresh out of

the Cunningham Company, and can really demonstrate
this work that he was performing just last

year or the year before. It's really different
than any other teacher I've ever had.

SILAS RIENER: There's going to be audience all the way around
at the museum. There's no proscenium, there's

no lights...

COLBY HYLAND: Silas definitely took a lot of time explaining
each step, and how he took Merce's original

notes, how he transitioned from each movement
and the's so intricate, and

I think it's really amazing how he transformed
that and set it all on us, who, a lot of us

I don't think have ever done it before.

AJ BRANNUM: The end of February is the Spring Dance Festival.

COLBY HYLAND: We're performing February 22nd to the 24th
at the Berlind Theater.

AJ BRANNUM: So the Cunningham piece will be in this. There'll
also be works by Mark Morris, Zvi Gotheiner,

Karole Armitage, Laura Peterson... it's a
lot of good stuff.

SILAS RIENER: To feel comfortable, in addition to feeling
like I have something now to offer back to

the university community at large, feels really

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