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Merce Cunningham

In November, the University will pay artist and choreographer Merce Cunningham its highest tribute by awarding him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, given to individuals who have achieved eminence in cultural affairs, public service, or a field of knowledge and scholarship.

Make a night of it: West Bank Arts Quarter Crawl features theatre, dance, and ar

West Bank Arts Quarter Crawl features art, dance, and theater all in one evening

By Kelly O'Brien

Published on October 11, 2005

What do you get when you mix together drawings by a choreographer, staged satire about the fight against greed, and dance performed to the sound of... foghorns? What else could it be but a night out in the West Bank Arts Quarter.

The University of Minnesota's West Bank Arts Quarter on the Twin Cities campus will present the first West Bank Arts Quarter Crawl on Friday, October 14. Beginning at 6 p.m., arts lovers will be able to celebrate the opening of "Exercises: Drawings by Merce Cunningham" at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery in the Regis Center for Art, see a showing of Cunningham's dance piece Inlets 2 in the Barbara Barker Center, and attend the University Theatre's 75th anniversary season's opening performance of The Madwoman of Chaillot at the Rarig Center.

The exhibition "Exercises: Drawings by Merce Cunningham" is an exhibition of 37 drawings and dance notations by the most influential choreographer of the 20th, and now 21st, century. Most people know of Merce Cunningham's work in the field of dance; few people know that he is also a visual artist. Without exception, he begins each day by making a drawing in one of his Rhodia pads as part of a daily journal he keeps. "They're very small, and a way for me to think about drawing where it doesn't feel elaborate," he says. "Then I write something about whatever I'm about that day."

In November, the University will pay Cunningham its highest tribute by awarding him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, given to individuals who have achieved eminence in cultural affairs, public service, or a field of knowledge and scholarship.

The dance In celebration of the opening of "Exercises," students from the U's dance program will be performing Cunningham's Inlets 2 at the Barbara Barker Center for Dance, just one door down from the Regis Center. Inlets 2 is danced to a score that includes the sounds of trickling water and foghorns, among other things. Despite that odd description, Inlets 2 is balletic and humorous, graceful and full of unexpected moments. Arts crawlers have two opportunities to see Inlets 2 on the 14th, with performances at 6:30 and 7:30.

The play Wrap up your crawl through the Arts Quarter with the opening night of The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux, adapted by Maurice Valency. In this ironic satire, Countess Aurelia leads a ragtag group of Parisian activists in a crusade against ruthless businessmen and their greedy materialism. Though considered the least credible, these "mad" street people restore truth and justice to the world. Members of the senior class of the U of M/Guthrie Theater BFA in Acting Program perform Madwoman.

Admission to the Merce Cunningham events in the Nash Gallery and Barker Center is free, but paid tickets are required for The Madwoman of Chaillot. For tickets, call the U of M arts ticket office at 612-624-2345 or see theatre.umn.edu. For directions, parking information, and a map of the West Bank, see the West Bank Arts Quarter Web site.

Make a night of it! 6:00 to 8:30: Merce Cunningham exhibition opens at the Nash Gallery 6:30 and 7:30: Performance's of Cunningham's Inlets 2 at the Barker Center 8:00: University Theatre presents The Madwoman of Chaillot

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