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(1983 - reprise 2010)

Choreography : Merce Cunningham

Music : John Cage

Created by John Cage, based on Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, Roaratorio is a completely crazy project that was intentionally unfinished, tending towards the infinite. Roaratorio is an atypical piece amongst
the works of Merce Cunningham. The choreography seems to give body to James Joyce's literature, like an incarnation of the tongue beyond language.


Choreography : Merce Cunningham

Music : John Cage, « Roaratorio, an Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake »

Set, light : Mark Lancaster

With : Brandon Collwes, Dylan Crossman, Julie Cunningham, Emma Desjardins, Jennifer Goggans, John Hinrichs, Daniel Madoff, Rashaun Mitchell, Marcie Munnerlyn, Krista Nelson, Silas Riener, Jamie Scott, Robert Swinston, Melissa Toogood, Andrea Weber

Reprise 2010 : Patricia Lent, Robert Swinston

Duration : 1 heure

Filmed by Marie-Hélène Rebois for the special journey about "Montpellier Danse 30 years old " - Arte july 3rd 2010

Production : Leslie Grunberg, les films Pénélope

Cunningham, Merce

Born in Centralia, Washington on April 16, 1919, Cunningham began his  career as a modern dancer at the age of 20, dancing for six years with  the Martha Graham Dance Company. He presented his first recital in 1944,  and formed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 1953. The company was a  living canvas for his experimentation and the creation of his unusual  pieces.
 Over his long career he  choregraphed more than 150 pieces and more than 800 Events. Many dancers  studied and worked with Cunningham before founding their own companies,  among them Paul Taylor, Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs and Karole  Armitage ... He collaborated with many artists; his collaboration with  John Cage had the most influence on his practice.
 Together Cunningham and Cage  proposed a series of radical innovations in dance. The most famous and  controversial of these dealt with the relationship between dance and  music, able to co-exist in the same space and time but needing to be  conceived independently of each other.
 Cunningham continued to  experiment and innovate throughout his life, and he was one of the first  to use new technologies in his own art form. He choreographed and  taught almost until the day he died, July 26, 2009, and received many  awards and accolades. Cunningham’s life and work have inspired the  publication of four books and three important exhibitions; several of  his pieces have been presented by other prestigious companies such as  American Ballet Theatre, the Ballet de Lorraine, the New York City  Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, the Rambert Dance Company in London and  the White Oak Dance Project.

Source: CCN-Ballet de Lorraine

More information:

Cage, John

Working during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism, John Cage honed his skills in the midst of the growing American avant  garde. Neither a painter or a sculptor, Cage is best known for revolutionizing modern music through his incorporation of unconventional instrumentation and the idea of environmental music dictated by chance. His approach to composition was deeply influenced by Asian philosophies, focusing on the harmony that exists in nature, as well as elements of chance. Cage is famous not only for his radical works, like 4'33"  (1952), in which the ambient noise of the recital hall created the  music, but also for his innovative collaborations with artists like Merce Cunningham and Robert Rauschenberg. These partnerships helped break down the divisions between the various  realms of art production, such as music, performance, painting, and dance, allowing for new interdisciplinary work to be produced. Cage's influence ushered in groundbreaking stylistic developments key to contemporary art and paved the way for the postmodern artistic inquiries, which began in the late 1960s and further challenged the established definition of fine art.


Rebois, Marie-Hélène

Marie-Hélène Rebois is a French director born in Nancy. Alongside literary studies (literature preparatory studies for “les grandes écoles”, a Master’s in literature, history of art and philosophy) and theatrical training with the director Jean-Marie Villégier and the Festival international de théâtre de Nancy, her home town, Marie-Hélène Rebois produced her first short films and became a filmmaker. In her films, she develops her favourite themes, always related to the expression of social issues and artistic creation, where family sagas, interior journeys, religion, writing, music, painting, opera and dance play a large role.
 She collaborated in the educational work of the production department of La Femis from 1992 to 1997. She worked for one year with the Montpellier Danse Festival to produce a film on the history of the festival (Montpellier Danse 1980-2000) and a special evening for Arte (Montpellier Danse 2000, points de vue d'Afrique). This programme received a special mention at the 11th Grand Prix international video danse. In 2003, her film Ribatz, Ribatz ou le Grain du temps was awarded the French selection prize at the Festival international de cinéma de Marseille. She also produced for the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris a film on the analysis of the body in danced movement: Le Geste créateur as well as, for the SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers), a short film on a circus act Rondeau pour un fardeau, a piece with lifts, together with portraits of the pianist Vanessa Wagner, the choreographer Jean-Claude Gallotta, and the Italian puppeteer Laura Kibel. In Dialogue avec les fauves, broadcast on Arte, she shows just how far man can go in communication with wild animals, with what language and with what gestures. Noces d'or, la mort du chorégraphe, broadcast on France 2, is the last part of the trilogy that Marie-Hélène Rebois imagined and started after the death of the French choreographer Dominique Bagouet (the first two parts were Histoire d'une transmission, So Schnell à l'Opéra, 1999, and Ribatz, Ribatz ou le Grain du temps, 2003). She has since produced three documentaries for Arte: Maguy Marin, la danse cachée; Montpellier Danse, 1980-2010, Zigzag, for the 30 years of the Montpellier Danse Festival and Merce Cunningham, la danse en héritage, where she follows the last tour paying tribute to the man who was one of the leading artists of the 20th century. Alternating rehearsal periods, images from archives, and interviews, her film raises the issue of the transmission of a truly intangible heritage. In 2016, her last film, Dans les pas de Trisha Brown, was selected for the Festival international de cinéma de Marseille.

Sources : Ardèche Image ; ; CMCA


Choreography : Merce Cunningham

Interpretation : Brandon Collwes, Dylan Crossman, Julie Cunningham, Emma Desjardins, Jennifer Goggans, John Hinrichs, Patricia Lent, Daniel Madoff, Rashaun Mitchell, Marcie Munnerlyn, Krista Nelson, Silas Riener, Jamie Scott, Robert Swinston, Melissa Toogood, Andrea Weber

Original music : John Cage, " Roaratorio, an Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake "

Lights : Mark Lancaster

Settings : Mark Lancaster

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Production : Leslie Grunberg, les films Pénélope

Duration : 1 heure

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