From left: Douglas Dunn, Merce Cunningham. Warming up, Milan, 1972

James Klosty, Courtesy Klosty

Stunning Photos From a New Book for Merce Cunningham Lovers

As if we didn't have enough bounty in this centennial year of Merce Cunningham, another treasure has just appeared. James Klosty, the photographer who captured the most evocative moments of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at work and at play, has released an augmented version of his 1975 book, redesigned and renamed Merce Cunningham Redux.


The original essays are still included. For instance, Carolyn Brown, the dancer who most often partnered Cunningham in those years, wrote this about his dancing: "He moves with leopard stealth and speed and awareness and intention." (Her wonderful essay, which you can read in full in the Redux version, was the seed for her acclaimed book Chance and Circumstance: Twenty Years With Cage and Cunningham.) Other contributors include John Cage, Gordon Mumma, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Pauline Oliveros and Lew Lloyd.

Klosty's dance photographs are glorious. They capture the communal feeling of the company in the '60s and '70s, early in the life of Cunningham's work, as they rehearse and perform his dances from that period. For this edition, Klosty has added 140 pages of photos in rich duotone—some of them showing the dancers peacefully at work, others showing moments of a very contemporary sort of drama.

Enough said. Here are a few of the photos from Merce Cunningham Redux, available now from PowerHouse Books.

James Klosty, Courtesy Klosty

Carolyn Brown and Merce Cunningham, Westbeth Studio, 1972

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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
December 2020