Choreography / 1996


This dance is in two parts. The first part consists of eight dances: two solos (one for a woman, one for a man), a duet, a trio, a quartet, a quintet, a sextet, and a septet. Each dance is based on a different movement quality. Cunningham tossed coins to determine the order of the dances and the casting in the first part (all the dancers knew all the parts), so that each performance was different. Later he sometimes staged new transitions between the dances for each performance. The second part is fixed, performed mostly in unison. One couple performs a duet alone on stage. The music is one of John Cage’s late “number pieces,” FOUR6—i.e. the sixth in a series of pieces for four players. The piece is described as being “for any way of producing sounds (vocalization, singing, playing of an instrument or instruments, electronics, etc.)” Kelly Atallah’s lighting is somber in the first part, with a scrim at the front of the stage and a black backcloth. In the second part the scrim and the backcloth are raised to reveal a white backcloth, and the lighting becomes brighter. In the first part the dancers are in practice clothes (later, Cunningham decided they should wear swimsuits); for the second, Cunningham asked Suzanne Gallo for something more formal, so she dressed them in black and white. Rondo was first performed in June 1996 in Ludwigsburg, Germany. (An earlier, incomplete version was performed at the University of Texas-Austin, in January 1996, under the title Tune In, Spin Out.)


Premiere Date

Jun 02, 1996

Premiere Venue

Theater im Forum

Premiere Location

Ludwigsburg, Germany


John Cage, FOUR6


Merce Cunningham

Suzanne Gallo


Kelly Atallah


Variable 26 - 30 minutes

Original Cast

Kimberly Bartosik

Lisa Boudreau

Thomas Caley

Michael Cole

Jean Freebury

Frédéric Gafner (Foofwa d'Imobilité)

China Laudisio

Matthew Mohr

Banu Ogan

Jared Phillips

Glen Rumsey

Jeannie Steele

Derry Swan

Robert Swinston

Cheryl Therrien

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