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Merce Cunningham's Chance Method

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Kelly Birchall

on 17 August 2014

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Transcript of Merce Cunningham's Chance Method

By Kelly Birchall
Merce Cunningham's Chance Method
Mercier "Merce" Philip Cunningham (April 16, 1919 – July 26, 2009) was an American dancer, teacher and choreographer who was at the forefront of the American avant-garde for more than 50 years. Throughout much of his life, Cunningham was considered one of the greatest creative forces in American dance and had a profound influence on modern dance.

He is perhaps most notable for his frequent collaborations with artists of other disciplines, his work with modern technology, his developed dance technique, which is performed all over the world in contemporary and modern classes and his choreographic method of 'chance.'
Who is Merce Cunningham?
TASK ONE
TASK TWO
How have we done?
Objectives
1) By the end of the session you will be able to create a motif using choreographic devices.

2) By the end of the session you will be able to state key attributes of Chance Technique

3) By the end of the session you will be able to apply Chance Technique and choreographic devices to your own dance practice and choreography.
“Cunningham’s unconventional choreography meant that he avoided the traditional principles of ‘good’ composition- such as every dance must have a clear start, middle and end…..‘Anything can follow anything’ applies to all his work…..”
(Rambert Dance Company Fact sheet)
What is Chance Method?
Thank you for
listening and participating,

Kelly x
Objectives revisited
Chance is a technique Cunningham used as a choreographic device. Cunningham choreographed dances using a chance technique in order to provide an element of surprise in his pieces. The dancers involved would develop sequences based on chance using Cunninghams set boundaries. Cunningham focused on time, space and weight, so all of his moves were developed around these principles.

In order to develop chance, Cunningham would use techniques such as rolling a dice or using instruction manuals to determine which moves would be used with which and in what order/direction/dynamic.
Within your own space roll the dice three times and write down the numbers you roll, in order.
Now write down the corresponding action next to the number………

Action
1= TRAVEL (i.e.. Stepping, crawling, run or cartwheel)
2= JUMP (i.e.. Tuck, jete, leap, spring or bounce)
3= TURN (i.e. Spin, pivot or pirouette)
4= BALANCE (i.e. Pause, Freeze, stop, hold or suspend)
5= GESTURE (i.e. Leg/arm/head gesture)
6= ROLL AGAIN

Roll the dice three more times and write down the numbers you roll, in order…..
Now look at the following slide and write down the corresponding instruction next to the number………
SPACE
1= DIRECTION (Forward, backwards, sideways, up and down)
2= PATHWAYS – floor or air (Straight, curved, angular or circular)
3= LEVELS (Low, medium or high)
4= SIZE (Small or large)
5= PERSONAL SPACE
6= GENERAL SPACE (Centre stage, down stage or upstage)

Roll the dice roll three more times and write down the numbers you roll, in order…..
TASK THREE
Get with a partner and develop your movement by adding a variety of choreographic devices/ relationships.
1= UNISON (performing the same movement at the same time)
2=CANON (performing movement one after another)
3=QUESTION AND ANSWER (movement complement/contrasted by others in the group)
4=COUNTERPOINT (performing individual movement sequences at the same time)
5= CONTACT (adding a touch, support, lean or lift)
6= REPETITION (repeating all or part of one or more motifs)
1) By the end of the session you will be able to create a motif using choreographic devices.

2) By the end of the session you will be able to state key attributes of Cunningham technique

3) By the end of the session you will be able to apply Cunningham technique and choreographic devices to your own dance practice and choreography.
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