Choreographer: Merce Cunningham

The concept for Winterbranch came from what Cunningham referred to as “facts in dancing.” Two such facts are the act of falling, and unless one stays on the ground, the subsequent act of rising. The dance began with Cunningham crawling slowly across the stage carrying a flashlight, followed by the dancers engaging in a series of falls, in both slow and fast motion, eventually clustering together to fall and rise as a

cohesive group. Cunningham asked Rauschenberg to think of the lighting as if it were nighttime, with automobile lights flashing in faces, reminiscent of walking along a dark highway. Rauschenberg dressed the dancers in sweat suits and sneakers, with black paint under their eyes. La Monte Young’s music for the piece, entitled 2 Sounds, consisted of “the sound of ashtrays scraped against a mirror, and the other, that of pieces of wood rubbed against a Chinese gong.”

Premiered on March 20, 1964 at Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT 

Visual Design
Robert Rauschenberg

Costume Design
Robert Rauschenberg

Lighting Design
Beverly Emmons (based on concepts by Robert Rauschenberg)

Jennifer Goggans assisted by Robert Swinston

La Monte Young, 2 Sounds

23 minutes

Winterbranch is performed by LADP with the permission and cooperation of the Merce Cunningham Trust.