Merce Cunningham Trust

Silas Riener performs Merce Cunningham’s Changeling at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Photo by Liza Voll. Courtesy of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

Closing Performances of Cunningham works at ICA Boston

January 19, 2016

The final week of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston’s exhibition Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 will feature performances of Cunningham’s 1957 solo Changeling, performed by Silas Riener, as well as excerpts of Cunningham dances choreographed during those years, performed by students of the Boston Conservatory with pianist Stephen Drury performing music by John Cage and Christian Wolff.

From 1933 to 1957 Black Mountain College was an incubator of experimentation and a crossroads for artists working in a variety of disciplines. Merce Cunningham and John Cage were both given intermittent teaching and artist residencies at the school starting in 1948, and Merce Cunningham and Dance Company was formed and gave its first performances there in the summer of 1953.

The solo Changeling, performed by Silas Riener was thought to be lost for decades, but has been reconstructed by Riener and Jean Freebury following the discovery of archival footage of Cunningham himself performing the work.

Additional dance excerpts are performed by students of the Boston Conservatory. In keeping with the exhibition’s interdisciplinary emphasis, the dances are performed in a gallery, among the works of art and archival materials that elucidate the interdisciplinary ethos of Black Mountain.  Portions of Minutiae  (1954) will be performed in proximity to the original decor, a Robert Rauschenberg combine of the same name, in recognition of this first collaboration between these two artists.

Find more details about the events on the ICA Boston dance calendar.

Watch the ICA video Silas Riener talking about working with Merce.

Explore the Merce Cunningham Trust’s Dance Capsules for Changeling and Minutiae.