Choreography / 1954


This dance initiated the collaboration between Cunningham and Robert Rauschenberg, which was to continue through the 1964 world tour of the company. Rauschenberg had no title: the program simply stated that he designed the costumes and lighting (though the costumes for "Minutiae" were by company member Remy Charlip). For "Minutiae" Rauschenberg designed and made a free-standing object (later called the first of his “Combines”). The dancers moved through it, around it, and under it. The choreography, made by a complex and detailed chance process, consisted of “small, short, abrupt movements [derived] from an observation…of people walking in the streets,” or so a program note stated, though Cunningham later admitted it was not entirely true. The music was from an existing work by Cage, "Music for Piano 1" through 20 (the music for Cunningham's "Suite for Five" is from the same source.)


Premiere Date

Dec 08, 1954

Premiere Venue

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Premiere Location

Brooklyn, NY


John Cage, Music for Piano 1-20


Robert Rauschenberg


Remy Charlip


16 minutes

Original Cast

Carolyn Brown

Remy Charlip

Merce Cunningham

Anita Dencks

Viola Farber

Jo Anne Melsher

Marianne Preger-Simon

Explore the Dance Capsule

Explore More

Other Choreography

Two Step
Duration: 2 minutes, 30 seconds (est.)
Year: 1949
Collab.: Satie
Before Dawn
Duration: Length unknown
Year: 1950
Pool of Darkness
Duration: Length unknown
Year: 1950
Collab.: Weber
Rag-Time Parade
Duration: 3 minutes
Year: 1950
Collab.: Satie
Duration: 5 - 6 minutes (est.)
Year: 1950
Collab.: Satie
Sixteen Dances for Soloist and Company of Three
Duration: 53 minutes (est.)
Year: 1951
Collab.: Cage, de Vito, Charlip
Duration: 6 - 7 minutes (est.)
Year: 1951
Collab.: Feldman
Boy Who Wanted to be a Bird
Duration: Length unknown
Year: 1951