Choreography / 1963

Field Dances

While teaching in Boulder, Colorado, Cunningham was inspired by children running and skipping on the street below his window. As he watched their playful games, Cunningham remembered, “They were having such a beautiful time. Field Dances came from that because I could see that they were running and skipping and to me it was dancing; but for them it wasn’t different.” Similar to the unstructured, carefree way the children played outside of Cunningham’s window, the dancers in Field Dances made their own choice of movements, leaving each performance different from the next. Each dancer was given a number of small events they could do together, and a few short dances to be done on their own. Robert Rauschenberg designed the colorful costumes, which were leotards with chiffon panels attached to the back for the women, and a sweatshirt for the men, over tights. Field Dances first premiered in 1963, with music by John Cage.


Premiere Date

Jul 17, 1963

Premiere Venue

University of California

Premiere Location

Los Angeles, CA


John Cage, Variations IV


Robert Rauschenberg


Robert Rauschenberg



Original Cast

Shareen Blair

Carolyn Brown

Merce Cunningham

Viola Farber

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