Choreography / 1988

Five Stone Wind

Having received two separate commissions, Cunningham decided to fulfill them by making one long piece that would be first presented in two parts. 92 phrases were organized around five points on the stage indicating the direction in which the dancers would enter or exit. Most of the phrases in the first part were slow, but in the second part the dance increased in virtuosity, complexity, and rapidity. The music for the first part was an electronic composition by Cage and Tudor plus clay drums played by Michael Pugliese, with Kosugi’s part added in the second, using violin, voice, and bamboo tubes. Mark Lancaster’s set featured a number of ropes hung against a purple backdrop; the dancers were dressed in shirts and leotards over tights, in various colors, to which skirts and pants could be added. The first part of the dance, under the title Five Stone, was performed in preview at the Freie Wolksbühne Berlin, Germany, in June 1988; the complete work, under the title Five Stone Wind, was shown in preview without décor at the World Financial Center, New York NY, in July 1988. The first performance with full décor was at the City Center Theater, New York NY, in February 1989.


Premiere Date

Jul 30, 1988

Premiere Venue

Cour d'Honneur du Palais des Papes (Festival d'Avignon)

Premiere Location

Avignon, France


John Cage, David Tudor, Takehisa Kosugi, Five Stone Wind


Mark Lancaster


Mark Lancaster


55 minutes

Original Cast

Helen Barrow

Kimberly Bartosik

Merce Cunningham

Emma Diamond

Victoria Finlayson

Alan Good

Chris Komar

David Kulick

Patricia Lent

Larissa McGoldrick

Dennis O'Connor

Kristy Santimyer

Robert Swinston

Carol Teitelbaum

Robert Wood

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