Merce Cunningham Trust

Viola Farber, Marianne Preger-Simon and Merce Cunningham in Suite for Five. Photo credit: Louis Stevenson, 1956

March 25, 2016

On March 31st former company members Andrea Weber (MCDC 2004 – 2011) and Patricia Lent (MCDC 1984 – 1993) will conclude their month-long residency of reconstructing Suite for Five and Fabrications at Baryshnikov Arts Center with a studio showing at City Center Studios. The dances will be performed by a select group of MCT workshop dancers. Christian Wolff will play John Cage’s Music for Piano with Suite for Five, and will join Brazilian composer Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta in performing the latter’s score for Fabrications.

Suite for Five, a work begun in 1953 and completed in 1956, is comprised of three solos, one duet, one trio and one quintet. Both Cunningham’s choreography and John Cage's accompaniment, Music for Piano, were composed using chance operations, and the costumes were designed by Robert Rauschenberg. An early program note read, "the events and sounds of this ballet revolve around a quiet center, which though silent and unmoving, is the source from which they happen." 

Fabrications was first performed in February 1987 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was given its New York City premiere in March 1987. This was a full company work for a cast of fifteen dancers, including Cunningham, that also employed chance operations in determining the organization of sixty-four dance phrases into a series of groups (solos, duets, trios, quartets, quintets and sextets) which unfold over the dance’s twenty sections. The dance features Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta’s Short Waves 1985 and SBbr, separated by a period of silence, with costumes and décor designed by Dove Bradshaw. David Vaughan recalls Cunningham reflecting on the work’s title as encompassing “both meanings of the verb 'to fabricate': to combine parts to form a whole, and to invent or concoct, even to lie."

To make a reservation to the Suite for Five and Fabrications studio showing on March 31st at 3:00pm, please email rsvp@mercecunningham.org with the number of seats to hold (max. two per guest). The showing will also be live-streamed online here.

In addition to the studio showing, Fabrications will also be performed on April 1st as part of the 92nd Street Y’s Fridays at Noon programming, followed by a panel discussion with Alastair Macaulay, Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta, Patricia Lent and former Cunningham company members Carol Teitelbaum, David Kulick, Karen Eliot and Cédric Andrieux.

Find more information and purchase tickets for on the 92nd Street Y’s Fabrications program here. You can also follow the live stream of the event here.