EVENT Horizon:
A Review of Merce Cunningham's EVENT

by Tony Phillips

That infamous whole-note rest — the entirety of John Cage's 4'33" symphony — hung in the air like Warhol's Silver Clouds, which studded the black drop as decor. The Merce Cunningham Dance Company's EVENT (Evening Stars, September 1) struck tableaux both epic and pedestrian — Crossing the Delaware meets Crossing Delancey. Suddenly full-bore, a kinetic excerpt from 1998's Scenario set a pace that played like a favorite CD on shuffle. Another track found Cedric Andrieux standing behind Jennifer Googans while she extended her arms like a jet. Andrieux's hand — both pivot and support — snaked through and pointed skyward as they both bent from the hip in a duet from 1986's videodance Points in Space.

Christian Marclay and Takehisa Kosugi created the soundscape — sirens, online bleeps, and Ella's "I Love Paris" — huddled against an insistent drizzle beneath a plastic tarp. Josh Johnson's modulated lighting occasionally hit the hot zone — an already pink-suited company doesn't need french-fry incandescence — but that's small potatoes when things end as serenely as they've begun. Off-sync leaps from 1983's Roaratorio — the bottom of a foot planted against the opposing knee, the company hanging in the air like giant fours — answered Cunningham's program koan: "Not so much an evening of dances as the experience of dance."