On the occasion of The Los Angeles Dance Project's premiere of Merce Cunningham's "Winterbranch" (1964) with decor by Robert Rauschenberg and music by La Monte Young, photographer James Klosty publishes for the first time a series of  images from his 1970 shoot of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and another series from a year later. You can see from these marvelous photographs what an incendiary work this was--a tinderbox, a rumble, red hot, ice cold, with everything in the dark going up in flames of pure energy. Electric, intense, fierce, fabulous!


The cast in its entirety for this January 1970 performance was: Merce Cunningham, Carolyn Brown, Sandra Neels, Jeff Slayton, Valda Setterfield, and Chase Robinson.
photo #1: Merce Cunningham
photo #2: Merce Cunningham
photo #3: Merce Cunningham and Sandra Neels
photo #4: Jeff Slayton and Sandra Neels
photo #5: Merce Cunningham and Carolyn Brown
photo #6: Carolyn Brown and Merce Cunningham 
photo #7:  Valda Setterfield and Jeff Slayton 
photo #8: Carolyn Brown 
photo #9:Chase Robinson,Jeff Slayton, Carolyn Brown (seated) and Merce Cunningham
photo#10: Merce Cunningham 

The second set of photographs (dated 1971) also shows Mel Wong. The sequence was made by the photographer to answer a question about the "tarp" you see in the first photo in this set. 

 All thanks to James Klosty for bringing to light this invaluable record of an iconic and indeed infamous work by Merce Cunningham and Robert Rauschenberg , so that we might have a sense of it during Cunningham's own tenure in the work.

 And thanks, too, to the cast members for recalling the dance and engaging with these photographs.

All photos ©James Klosty
©Nancy Dalva 2012
 Nancy Dalva is the Merce Cunningham Trust Scholar in Residence