This piece had an unmistakably dramatic quality; Cunningham’s own role had something of the neurotic intensity of such dances as his Untitled Solo. At the end, he got into a large plastic bag and thrashed about. The dancers had no idea of this quality during rehearsals, but only realized it when they came to perform the dance. Gordon Mumma, who had no doubts about the meaning of the piece, composed his first score for Cunningham, Mesa, “a duo for bandoneon and computer,” for which David Tudor made his own decisions in performance. Beverly Emmons, the company’s lighting designer during the interregnum between the departure of Robert Rauschenberg as resident designer and the appointment of Jasper Johns as artistic advisor, made a set out of bits of wooden crates and newspapers; the women wore brief tunics of clear colored plastic over their leotards.
Choreography / 1966