Locale

1978, 29:54 min, color, sound, 16 mm film on HD video

In Locale, Charles Atlas' camera movements map precisely onto Cunningham's choreography. Three kinds of cameras are used: Steadicam, a Movieola crab dolly and an Elemac dolly with a crane arm. Locale is structured in four parts, based upon the use of specific cameras, dancers and time sequences. Atlas also designed the costumes, playing thematically with television and video technology by incorporating the hues of color television adjustment bars and the corresponding grayscale tones used to adjust black-and-white television monitors. Filmed in color, the bright leotards of the dancers are imprinted against the windows of the studio and its city backdrop.

Dancers are initially grouped in twos or threes, according to costume color. The camera slowly reveals the breadth of the performance as more dancers come into the frame and additional spatial elements, such as a mirror and a black stage, are revealed. Colors begin to intermingle as bodies literally bounce off of one another, swerving from one end of the studio to the other. Suddenly, the camera zooms into the black of the stage and the "locale" changes. The second setting is a windowless studio with a black backdrop, which is accompanied by a change in the dancers' and the camera's movements. Several close-ups frame the dancers as they proceed to frame one another— folding, enclosing and breaking apart. Takehisa Kosugi's composition is overlaid with a slow hum and the almost religious tone of a man's voice. The dancers return to their original color groupings and the camera fully encompasses them as the piece ends.

Choreography: Merce Cunningham. Director: Charles Atlas. Music: Takehisa Kosugi, "S.E.Wave/E.W. Wave Song." Set/Costumes: Mark Lancaster. Produced by the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation.

 
 

This is a High-Definition video transfer of a work initially shot on film. This is best shown as a projection, to reflect the original medium.
High-Definition Video Guide

 

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