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You’re reading the blog of a full-time working (and dancing) college woman! My summer has really taken off! Where do I even begin? I’m sure this doesn’t shock you, but I’ve picked up yet another work-study position in another office within Juilliard. More on that later. Most recently, I participated in the Merce Cunningham Trust’s Summer Workshop series.
The Merce Cunningham Trust is holding about a dozen different workshops throughout the summer. Each workshop focuses on one piece of the Cunningham repertoire. We began each day with a Cunningham technique class from 12:15-1:45, and then we rehearsed the specific work from 2-5. I participated in the Scenario workshop. Yesterday was the final day of the workshop, and we had an in-studio showing of the piece. Scenario was created in 1997 and is about 40 minutes long. We learned twenty minutes of the piece in eight days! The two people who staged the piece, Banu Ogan and Daniel Squire, were dancers in the Cunningham company for many years. They said that when they staged the work on a professional company in Germany, it took nearly seven weeks to complete!
Perhaps one of the most astonishing aspects of the workshop was that it was completely free of charge. Free organized dance workshops in New York? That’s absolutely unheard of! After the workshop was over, all of the participants were given class cards; this means we can take up to ten open Cunningham classes for free! It was such an honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to dance in the workshop. Oh! How can I forget? This was my very first experience with the Cunningham technique. All of the other dancers had years of training behind then. I was proud of myself for not only keeping up, but taking class each day and learning one of the most difficult pieces of Cunningham repertory. As a Junior at Juilliard in the fall, I will have Cunningham class twice a week, but I am so happy that I have a head start. I feel like I am really comfortable with the basics of the technique. But wait! It gets better! In the spring, for Juilliard’s Spring Dances Repertory performance we will be doing Cunningham’s Biped, a forty five minute work. One of the teachers from the workshop will be staging the piece! I will be at ease when rehearsals for Biped begin because the person in front of the room is someone whom I’ve fostered a wonderful relationship.
What I’ve just described to you is the tip of the iceberg! In my next entries, I will let you in on all of the exciting administrative work I’ve been doing here at Juilliard.