Top 25 Quotes of Merce Cunningham

You do not separate the human being from the actions he does or the actions which surround him, but you see what it is like to break these actions up in different ways, to allow passion – and it is passion – to appear for each person in his own way.

Merce Cunningham

You can get fixed ideas, and it can get restrictive. So, I try to put myself in a precarious position.

Merce Cunningham

What really made me think about space and begin to think about ways to use it was Einstein’s statement that there are no fixed points in space. Everything in the universe is moving all the time.

Merce Cunningham

Very often, you did something slow with your arm, for example, and something rapid with your feet – but the arm had to do something large against this – and this set up a kind of opposition.

Merce Cunningham

The use of chance operations opened out my way of working. The body tends to be habitual. The use of chance allowed us to find new ways to move and to put movements together that would not otherwise have been available to us. It revealed possibilities that were always there except that my mind hadn’t seen them.

Merce Cunningham

The legs and arms can be a revelation of the back, the spine’s extensions.

Merce Cunningham

Our emotions are constantly being propelled by some new face in the sky, some new rocket to the moon, some new sound in the ear, but they are the same emotions.

Merce Cunningham

My work always comes from the same source – from movement. It doesn’t necessarily come from an outside idea, though the source can be something small or large that I’ve seen, often birds or other animals. The seeing can then provoke the imagining.

Merce Cunningham

My process has changed over the years. I’d say it has been enhanced.

Merce Cunningham

My dance classes were open to anybody, my only stipulation was that they had to come to the class every day.

Merce Cunningham

Movement is expressive. I’ve never denied that. I don’t think there’s such a thing as abstract dance.

Merce Cunningham

It is upon the length and breadth and span of a body sustained in muscular action that dance invokes its image.

Merce Cunningham

In using chance operations, the mind is enriched.

Merce Cunningham

I was told that I had to give grades to the students, which I wasn’t particularly interested in doing.

Merce Cunningham

I use the computer as a tool. Like chance or the camera or the other tools I’ve used, it can open my eye to other ways of seeing or of making dances. It’s not simply to do a trick.

Merce Cunningham

I think the thing that we agreed to so many years ago, actually, was that the music didn’t have to support the dance nor the dance illustrate the music, but they could be two things going on at the same time.

Merce Cunningham

I think anything can feed you, depending on the way you look at it or listen to it.

Merce Cunningham

I have always had this thing about moving around, and that has just remained, regardless of my physical changes. That feeling about it has never changed.

Merce Cunningham

I don’t like teaching, because it’s so repetitive – especially the beginning of class, which is always more or less the same and has to be carefully done. It’s tedious. But I know it’s necessary for dancers to keep working on technique.

Merce Cunningham

I began to fear that the Graham work was not in lots of ways sufficient for me. I suppose it came about from looking at other dancing and being involved with the ballet – something about the air and the way she thought about dancing.

Merce Cunningham

I began to do this thing I do of giving myself a class every day, and trying to experiment and push further. I don’t mean to say I knew everything, because I didn’t, but I would do what I knew and then push beyond that and see what else I could find.

Merce Cunningham

Fortunately, dance has been what’s interested me all my life. So whether I am faced with incapacities or not, it still absorbs me.

Merce Cunningham

Dancing has a continuity of its own that need not be dependent upon either the rise or fall of sound or the pitch and cry of words. Its force of feeling lies in the physical image, fleeting or static.

Merce Cunningham

Cage always wanted to know what my structure was, if I had one. I often did have some sense of the time structure. Then he’d make a different one for the music.

Merce Cunningham

All these dismal things that are going on in the world – the isolation and the sickness and the governments and the pollution – it’s so frightful, over the whole world.

Merce Cunningham