Carolyn Brown, dancer and author of Chance and Circumstance: Twenty Years with Cage and Cunningham, will join members of the Sarah Lawrence College dance, music, art history, and writing faculty on Monday, October 15 at 3:45 p.m. in the Bessie Schonberg Dance Theatre. The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the inaugural year of Sarah Lawrence College’s tenth president, Karen R. Lawrence. It includes a dance performance by the Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group and will conclude with screenings of “Merce Cunningham—A Lifetime of Dance” by Charles Atlas and “Cage/Cunningham” by Elliot Caplan.
Brown will discuss her own remarkable career, the formative years of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and the two brilliant, iconoclastic, and forward-thinking artists at its center—Merce Cunningham and John Cage. In her memoir, Chance and Circumstance: Twenty Years with Cage and Cunningham, Brown writes with unique insight as she explores Cunningham's technique, choreography, and experimentation with compositional procedures influenced by Cage. She probes the personalities of these two men: the reticent, moody, often secretive Cunningham, and the effusive, fun-loving, enthusiastic Cage.
The program will begin with a welcome by President Lawrence, and an introduction of Carolyn Brown by Sarah Lawrence Dance Program Director Sara Rudner. It will include a discussion of the work of visual artists Robert Raushchenberg and Jasper Johns by art history faculty member Judith Rodenbeck, and a performance of a John Cage work for piano by music faculty member Martin Goldray. Writing faculty member Rachel Cohen will interview Brown.
From its inception in the 1950s until her departure in the 1970s, Carolyn Brown was a major dancer in the Cunningham company and part of the vibrant artistic community of downtown New York City out of which it grew. Brown continues to work with the Cunningham company as an artistic consultant. She is a member of the Cunningham Dance Foundation Board of Directors, and has worked as a freelance choreographer, filmmaker, writer, lecturer, and teacher. She has been awarded the Dance Magazine Award, five National Endowment for the Arts grants, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, Dance Perspectives, Ballet Review, and the Dance Research Journal.
Sarah Lawrence is a liberal arts college for men and women, founded in 1926, with a distinctive system of education. It is known for having one of the lowest student:faculty ratios in the country. At the core of the system are small classes, regular one-on-one student-faculty conferences, cross-disciplinary approaches and the integration of the creative arts within the curriculum.