Choreography / 1963


The structure of this dance is indeterminate: there are eighteen sections—solos, duets, trios, and larger units--whose order is changeable. A basic order, determined by chance, was posted in the wings but could also be affected by a dancer giving a movement cue to another dancer. Toshi Ichiyanagi’s music is a composition for sustained sounds, without attack and continuous. Robert Rauschenberg constructed a set made of materials he found around the theater on the day of a given performance, which would be dismantled afterwards. He also collected a number of garments that were packed in two duffel bags and then dumped in the wings. The dancers were free to wear these at any time over their basic costume, yellow leotard and tights for the women, black tights and blue leotards for the men. (Cunningham wore a shirt and sweat pants.) A kinescope of a live telecast in Helsinki in 1964 is a unique record of "Story" in performance.


Premiere Date

Jul 24, 1963

Premiere Venue

University of California

Premiere Location

Los Angeles, CA


Toshi Ichiyanagi, Kaiki, also known as Music for Piano (electronic version), or Sapporo


Robert Rauschenberg


Robert Rauschenberg


Variable 15 - 40 minutes

Original Cast

Shareen Blair

Carolyn Brown

Merce Cunningham

William Davis

Viola Farber

Barbara Lloyd

Steve Paxton

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