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Home »  »  Dance DVDs »  Modern »  Instructional » Cunningham Dance Technique: Elementary Level

Cunningham Dance Technique: Elementary Level

Cunningham Dance Technique: Elementary Level View large image
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This DVD is the first of a two part series of educational programs and is an introduction to a number of the elements that comprise the basis of the Cunningham technique for dancers as given in the Westbeth studio in New York. Sequential exercises and simple combinations of movements are demonstrated by the dancers, intercut with teacher demonstrations in technique class. Cunningham's commentary provides an explanation of each exercise: "My purpose has not been to make a technique but to make exercises which are useful for the purpose of training dancers. Dance technique is flexible. The whole point in art, in life, is flexibility."

"This is an excellent addition to the current dance collections of college libraries. Cross-disciplinary connections can be made with education, aesthetics, human anatomy and visual arts."-Choice

Instructors: Merce Cunningham, Susan Alexander, Ruth Barnes, June Finch, Susanna Hayman-Chaffey, Chris Komar

Dancers: Alison Cutri, Jill Diamond, Nancy Langsner, Kate Troughton
Release year:
Running time:
35 min.
For Rental: Available now


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Member Reviews

This is an informational, rather than a complete do-along-class program. The video is only 35 minutes long including introduction and credits. Therefore there is not time to do everything on both sides or with enough repetitions to really learn a movement which is totally new to you. I do wish they had made the program longer and more thorough! However, it is presented in the same sequence as a class, and, although it is not chaptered you can hit "suspend", if needed, to try an exercise further. The class incorporates exercises with feet parallel as well as turned out. The spine may be curved or straight, leaning to the side or back or on an angle or upright. The class practices across the floor movements with any variations: rhythms that are slow, fast, both slow and fast, turning, changing direction and so on. Mr. Cunningham stresses flexibility, pointing out that although the body has a limited number of moves it can do, one can perform them in endless combinations. He says that he has simplified his typical exercises, here, for purposes of illustration but encourages people to try new variations of them every day. Indeed, as someone who is not a professional but who does dance as a hobby, I found most exercises not too difficult but just right for me to get the feel for what he was saying. So to get the full benefit from this video you do need to change into your dance clothes and go barefoot, trying out the ideas as they are presented.


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