Points in Space- Critical Essay

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Critical Essay on Merce Cunningham’s Points in Space. Points in Space (1987) is a piece of choreographic genius by the renowned choreographer Merce Cunningham and music and sound by his partner John Cage. This piece in particular was a made for television, and then after the success of it on television was re-worked to work on a stage. The collaborations of work between Cunningham and Cage where known as pieces of art that never tell a story or express emotions and feelings but “focus on the physical facts of the body.” This is what creates the sense of mystery about Cunningham’s dances, and leaves the audience interpretated the dance in their own way. Cunningham was well known for using a technique called chance. Marcia Siegel suggests that: “Many people mistakenly believe that a dance created by chance operations is improvised or haphazard. Actually, just the opposite is true. Chance is one of concrete and objective procedures by which art can be created.” (Siegel, 1985:293) Chance is a technique that seems to have continually worked in Cunningham’s favour throughout his creative, choreographic career. It is a technique in which Cunningham would devise the movements for a piece but have them put together in a sequence using means such as dice or cards with numbers on. In the piece Points in Space the lighting of the piece throughout is a neutral wash that is as simple as you would expect for a piece of work by Cunningham. The dancers in this piece all wear unitards that either patterned or plain, this is also the kind of simplicity you would expect from a Cunningham piece. If you look closely whilst watching this piece you will see that the pattern on the patterned unitards is the same as that, that is on the backdrop in the background of the dance. You can never be sure what the connection between these two is meant to be but

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