Choreography by: Merce Cunningham

Music by: Morton Feldman

Imbued with fluid angularity, Merce Cunningham’s Summerspace presents contemporary whimsy underscored by a suspenseful, chirping score.

Summerspace was first performed by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company on August 17, 1958 at the American Dance Festival at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, and entered New York City Ballet’s repertory on April 14, 1966. This piece is indicative of Cunningham’s unique collaborative method, in which Morton Feldman composed the score, Robert Rauschenberg designed the décor, and Cunningham choreographed independently from each other. Together, the movement, music, and décor give the effect of a balmy, summer day. Dressed in painted leotards, the dancers move about the stage in sudden bursts of speed and suspensions, zigzagging every which way, like flying creatures. The delicate music at times sounds like bubbles of water rising to the surface, at others, with a muffled rumble in the bass, like distant thunder.

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August 17, 1958, Merce Cunningham and Dance Company, 11th American Dance Festival, Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut
NYC Ballet Premiere
April 14, 1966, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater
Original Cast
Carolyn Brown, Remy Charlip, Merce Cunningham, Viola Farber, Cynthia Stone, Marilyn Wood

NYC Ballet Original Cast
Anthony Blum, Deni Lamont, Sara Leland, Kay Mazzo, Patricia Neary, Carol Sumner
20 Min.
Costumes by
Robert Rauschenberg
Set by
Robert Rauschenberg
Lighting by
Ronald Bates

Production Supervisor
John Braden