Interview with Nina Fonaroff, 1980-07-30
NamesMerce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)Fonaroff, Nina (Interviewee)Vaughan, David, 1924- (Interviewer)
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1980-07-30Place: London, England
Library locationsRodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded SoundShelf locator: *LTC-A 1196
TopicsFonaroff, NinaCunningham, MerceGraham, MarthaMartha Graham Dance CompanyMerce Cunningham Dance CompanyAmerican document (Choreographic work : Graham)Credo in us (Choreographic work : Cunningham and Erdman)Every soul is a circus (Choreographic work : Graham)
GenresInterviews (Sound recordings)Interviews
NotesContent: David Vaughan interviews Nina Fonaroff in London, England, on July 30, 1980. This interview was created as research for David Vaughan's book, Merce Cunningham: Fifty years (New York, Aperture).Content: Title, date and location provided by cataloger based on audition and handwritten note on original container.Content: Handwritten note on original container: "1. Interview with Nina Fonaroff, London 30 July 1980 ; 2. Interview with Marianne [Preger-]Simon, New York 27 March 1983".Numbering: Donor's inventory number: C373.Content: Contains side 1 of the archival original cassette.Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.Citation/reference: Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Physical DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 1 audiocassette (47 minutes) : analogSound quality is fair; the volume is low overall and the interviewee speaks some distance away from the microphone.
DescriptionBegins abruptly, [there are several false starts to the interview until ca. 1:36], Nina Fonaroff speaks with David Vaughan about Merce Cunningham performing with the Martha Graham Dance Company in the Graham's Every soul is a circus (1939), Appalachian spring (1944), and Punch and the Judy (1941); they speak about the Bennington College concert in 1942 that Fonaroff co-presented with Cunningham [and Jean Erdman]; [brief interruption, ca. 6:41]; Vaughan speaks briefly about the text Cunningham wrote for Credo in us (1942) and mentions the other duets that Cunningham performed with Erdman at Bennington; Fonaroff speaks about the "animal" quality of Cunningham's dancing and choreography, especially his being vulnerable, practical, and articulate; she speaks about the experimental dance lessons that Valerie Bettis, Cunningham and herself taught each other; she speaks about Cunningham's study of ballet as well as his uniqueness in coming from a differing dance background from the rest of the Graham Company; Fonaroff speaks about taking ballet classes outside of the Graham Company and her subsequent leave from taking classes with Graham; they speak about Cunningham's working with Ballet Society [on his Seasons (1947)] and examples of ballet and modern dancers studying each other's technique; Fonaroff speaks about co-choreographing a duet with Cunningham for a commissioned score given to Graham, performed only once; she speaks about a shift in Graham's choreographic methods including her creation of sequences that were never used in performance; her leaving the Graham Company in 1946, a year after Cunningham; Vaughan speaks about how Cunningham was initially seen as iconoclastic; Fonaroff mentions her plans to show a film of RainForest (1968) at a summer school where she teaches; she tells an anecdote about a screening of Doris Humphrey's works that sparked a debate by the students; Fonaroff speaks more about Cunningham as an artist and her friend; [ca. 29:30-34:25, they look through photographs as Fonaroff describes aspects of them]; they continue to speak about Cunningham's roles as a dancer in Graham's Company; Fonaroff's dislike of dancing in Graham's American document (1938); her recollection of being in Miami with the Graham Company when World War II broke out as well as touring during World War II; changes to Graham's work when men began to join the Company; she speaks about Graham's early works, especially seeing Graham perform while a student at Cornish College of the Arts in the mid-1930s; returning to New York to dance with Graham including the usual daily Company schedule; she speaks about her pay while in Graham's Company, joining AGMA [American Guild of Musical Artists], and teaching to make her living; ends abruptly.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 913795283NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20730815Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 095f08b0-b8cd-0133-bcf9-60f81dd2b63c
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