In this highly emotional and stirring piece, Trevor Carlson, the last executive director of Merce Cunningham's famous dance company, tells us the story of his friendship and collaboration with the iconic 20th century American contemporary choreographer that span over the last years of his life. From his childhood in the west of the US to his career around the world, Trevor Carlson takes a look back to the choreographic work Cunningham made with chance and dices to illustrate the journey of his life.
Watching what was made to be a workshop about life, the audience experiences Trevor Carlson evolving on stage through choices defined by the dice, reminding everyone of the great role chance and coincidence play in everyone’s personal life trajectory.
Using a patchwork of dance, visual effects and white veils around the stage onto which photos and videos were projected, Carlson tells a moving story: his own story, full of hope, life, and most of all, love. Carlson shows his love for dance and his admiration for Cunningham’s work, a choreographer he is honoured to call a friend, a friendship with limited love that was sometimes hard to distinguish.
© Yoana Miguel
The piece starts with a short artistic creation, where numbers given by the dice determine a movement, a jump and a direction, directly recalling Merce Cunnigham's ground-breaking use of chance in choreography. From this experimental process, Trevor Carlson then expands into a deeper level, developing a beautiful metaphor of his own trajectory through time and space. Carlson uses these two key elements as a thread to tell the story of his life.
While the end of the performance presents an intimate memory of Cunningham's last moments and the support Carlson provided him with, the overall message is full of hope. Even the smallest acts can change the course of a lifetime. Just as a dice thrown on the ground, a little decision can start a new future. All you have to do is find the courage to give the first impulse.
© Yoana Miguel
If Trevor Carlson uses dance throughout the piece, it goes beyond a solely choreographic creation. The use of movements and music are rather used to present Cunningham's work with chance and how it can be transposed and serve as a real lesson of life. The audience should not therefore expect to see a dance piece in the modern style, despite modern dance having a central role in the workshop proposed by Trevor Carlson. The use of the different medium and artistic inspirations balance out what could be at first a small deception about a relative absence of dance. Enhancing emotions, love, experiences, and beauty, the overall message of the piece is full of hope. From the story of his life, Trevor Carlson encourages everyone to find the courage to throw the dice, and see what happens next!
Edited by Dimitrina Dyakova, Deputy Digital Editor
Not A Moment Too Soon
Part of the Merce Cunningham Centennial
Silk Street Theatre, Barbican, EC2Y 8DX