DANCE / Three generations of choreographers reflect on the Cunningham legacy

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The Independent Culture
Richard Alston. Director of Rambert Dance Company. First professional piece of work made in 1969.

'At a time when most people were dealing with big subjects and mythology, his work seemed wonderfully clear because it was just dealing with itself. Now I think Europe has been extraordinarily influenced by the resurgence of dance theatre. But it's interesting that most companies will use Cunningham technique for class. It's so objective, its rigour is extraordinarily challenging and refreshing and straightforward that it gives you all the reformation you need and then lets you go away and do whatever you want with it.'

Lea Anderson. Choreographer for The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs (appearing in this year's Dance Umbrella) First professional work, 1984.

'I love his work to bits. It's his use of space and shape that's the most stunning thing for me. I never look at his work and think that's old school of dancing - the way I do with some of his followers. I even like the leotards his company wear; they're totally appropriate, though I loathe leotards anywhere else. I'm always having to defend myself in my company over why I like Merce though. I get so much delight from the way he phrases things. But I can see if you're just looking at it, the work isn't very immediate, it doesn't have anything much to do with everyday life. It stands, too, for what a lot of people are trying to get away from: pure technique. It's an acquired taste, you have to decide why you are looking at it, no one else can persuade you to like it.'

Kristina Page. Choreographer for Krakeel Dance Co. First professional work, 1991.

'His style of movement has very little relevance for me, though I find his actual dancing interesting - he has so much conviction. I'm interested by dance that crosses over into theatre, that deals with personalities and motivation, Dance in itself leaves me a bit cold. Cunningham's choreography seems to be too controlled, too perfect, it's not about reality. People now can't get enough blood and guts and emotion.'

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