Merce Cunningham’s “Winterbranch” by L.A. Dance Project 2

SEPT 29 2012 UPDATE: CONCERT REVIEWED ON THE HUFFINGTON POST HERE.

A wonderful dark and gloomy photo of Merce Cunningham’s “Winterbranch” (1964) with early cast members Carolyn Brown and Gus Solomons, Jr. We’ll watch the re-staging of this High Cunningham classic this weekend courtesy of L.A. Dance Project, the newly launched repertory dance company sponsored by the Los Angeles Music Center.

We chatted with arts·meme friend Albert Reid, a wonderful former Merce Cunningham dancer about “Winterbranch.” Says Albert:

“I was in the second cast after the ’64 tour. It was a very strong piece. Mostly the sound … it was a La Monte Young piece; the sound of a chair being scraped, a loud scraping sound. It came on late in the piece, and never let up till the end. We did it at Lincoln Center and Robert Rauschenberg did the lighting. He used their computerized lighting system. He randomly punched things in and put it in for random lighting. It got stuck at one point and blinded the audience — they were sitting with their programs up and everyone boo’ed. 

Thank you, Albert. We don’t anticipate a similar lighting debacle at Walt Disney Concert Hall (where master lighting artist Beverly Emmons is restaging Rauschenberg’s design), but we love this story!

SEPT 29 2012 UPDATE: CONCERT REVIEWED ON THE HUFFINGTON POST HERE.

Photo courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust: photographer Herve Gloaguen (1966). 

2 thoughts on “Merce Cunningham’s “Winterbranch” by L.A. Dance Project

  1. Beverly Emmons Oct 20,2012 5:32 pm

    Hi, Al,
    It was a treat to revisit this work. My task was to keep all the random feel and darkness without it being so dangerous, the way it was when you did it. The critic who commented was wrong about the Lincoln Center performances of such notoriety. Bob wasn’t there, I was. It was near the beginning of my work with the company.
    Where are you these days?
    It would be nice to reminisce.
    Beverly

  2. Albert Reid Oct 3,2012 9:24 pm

    Beverly Emmons was the lighting designer for the Cunningham Company later in the 60’s, after
    Rauschenberg. I was still in the company when she was on board. Nice woman; talented too.

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