- CCN-Ballet de Lorraine
- Centre Chorégraphique National
- Practical information
«For the centennial of Merce Cunningham we have proposed For Four Walls, with the original score performed live by pianist Vanessa Wagner. The premier took place on the 23rd of May at the National Opera of Lorraine, Nancy.
For Four Walls is a wanderlust through room, the individual, and the history we share. The “room” is a mirrored space that allows for a situation to be seen as having and not having its confining walls. Defining infinity, passing through it, or as a reflective space - a somewhere to remember that we belong to these interconnected spaces and their temporalities. We see it as a non-place, perpetually vulnerable and in motion. Where distances are relativized and human differences are always in flux. We see For Four Walls not as a re-enactment of the lost original, but as a situation that will allow for its own history and our history with Merce to be reflected in.
The original dance play, Four Walls was a creation that incorporated text and choreography by Merce Cunningham with a score for solo piano by John Cage. After its premier, and only performance in 1944, the piece was lost and forgotten, although in the late 1970’s the pianist Richard Bunger rediscovered the score among Cage’s manuscripts.
According to Cage his piano score, with a singular voice, acknowledged a link or prefigured the music of Philip Glass and Steve Reich - “It’s full of passages that get repeated, and it’s all white notes; it’s in C and it goes on and on”.
The structure is of contrasting settings, loud and soft, high and low, etc, which has a psychological intensity quite unusual for Cage. He himself upon hearing the discovered score found it rather interesting – a genuine curiosity, and seemed surprised that he was its composer!
Still within the beginnings of their collaborative work, the music and what little is known of the dance and staging precedes what we identify as a Cage/Cunningham work. What we are met with is their youth, full of introspective and conflicting emotions.
This new reading of the original is interested in this notion of the pre “Cage/Cunningham”, while understanding it exists in the post their legacy.
Duration: 1 hour
The choreographers and dancers Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley, started collaborating in the nineteen nineties, choreographing works for Martha@Mother, the Joyce Soho in New York and the opera Staden for the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, a commission for the 1998 Cultural capital of Europe. For the Royal Swedish Opera, Ballet and Orchestra they created two immense Happenings, In nooks and crannies 2000 and 2001. The two different performances, occupied non-traditional performance spaces throughout the entire theatre.In 2005 they started their own company creating works entitled Nightlife, Untitled partner, Flux, No mans land - no lands man and The nearest nearness. In 2002 they received a “Goldmask” for the musical Chess with Björn Ulveus and Benny Andersson (ABBA).
As of 2011, Petter is choreographer and the Artistic Director and Thomas choreographer and the Coordinator of Research for the Centre Chorégraphique National - Ballet de Lorraine, Nancy. For the company they have created Untitled Partner #3, Performing Performing, Relâche, Armide, Discofoot, L’Envers, Record of ancient things, Happening Birthday and For Four Walls.
Their programming for the CCN is organized around questions or themes and each year they invite a wide variety of artists both French and international to play and question within them.Their first programming season 2012, was entitled La saison de La. There they asked why is it Le Ballet but La dance? In response to this question of gender they presented solely female choreographers of diverse backgrounds. The season Tête à tête à têtes was a dialog focused on our modernity and its influences and connections with contemporary artists and spectators. Live! was a celebration of the ephemerality of the performing arts. Together with the continuing seasons, Folk + Danse = (R)évolution, Unknown Pleasures, 50 ans!, Fifty Plus, all have continued to challenge, celebrate and question our current 19/20 season’s subject, the need for all this Useless Beauty. To insure a continued lively and non fixed use of the artform they have also worked with the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris and Centre Pompidou- Metz and Paris, and an original initiative LAB-BLA-BAL, a series of discussions and open house art experiments.
Born in Stockholm, Petter Jacobsson started his studies in dance at the age of three and was further educated at the Royal Swedish Ballet School, the School of American Ballet under Stanley Williams and he later graduated from the Vaganova Academy in St.Petersburg in 1982. As a principal dancer with the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in London between 1984 to 1993, he toured internationally dancing all of the renowned classical roles as well as appearing as guest artist with numerous international companies. He later moved to New York to begin a freelance career, dancing with Twyla Tharp Dance Company, Merce Cunningham Repertory group, Irene Hultman Dance and later with Deborah Hay. In 1999, Petter was appointed artistic director of the Royal Swedish Ballet in Stockholm.
Thomas Caley started his dance training at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, he continued his education earning a BFA from Purchase College in upstate New York in 1992. After graduating from university, a year was spent experimenting, performing in a multitude of independent projects in New York City. From 1993 until 2000 he was a principle dancer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company touring throughout the world and participating in the creation of twelve new works. In 2000 he moved to Stockholm to continue his collaboration with Petter Jacobsson and to continue working as a freelance dancer in Europe, in France Thomas has worked with Boris Charmatz on the 50 ans de danse & flip book projects.