Bay Area Memories

Charles Moulton

After rehearsal I went home to Delancey street, locked myself into my fortress apartment where the doors and windows were shuttered and barbed wire festooned the roof.   I lay on my bed and the charge in my legs from the days work would release with twitches and jumps.  I thought about the strange new world where I lived… a world that encompassed choreographers shaking dice to determine my fate and holocaust survivors running delicatessens on my corner. Cage and Cunningham believed that emptiness held a great beauty. That meaning was a fabrication. The subject of their work was ‘nothing’.  And from ‘nothing’ they made masterpieces. But when I looked in the mirror – I saw a face.  I saw arms and legs.  I saw a person. Everywhere around me…..narratives and stories………. I would have done anything to absorb the elegance, grace and understatement of Merce’s work, but remained uncontrollably, awkwardly meaningful.  Maybe Merce was right…….. that we lived our lives as numbered objects against a green baize – bouncing against each other in discreet patterns…………that we were random events– strutting and blustering against the backdrop of the city.  And maybe what Merce presented of himself was all there was.  He seemed so calm with none of the darkness and complications, the specters, the bare naked wanting I had.  I couldn’t imagine him laying exhausted at night in bed and wiping away his tears as I so often did.  I cherished this idea – that Merce had cut himself free and all that was left was the dancing.  That’s what I wanted– just the dancing – to launch myself into a world of clarity and precision. To disappear into it and never come out.


Merce Cunningham Centennial Assemblage Screening
This program is part of the Merce Cunningham Centennial.