Steve Paxton

  • Steve Paxton

    AT THE AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL in the summer of 1958, I studied with Merce Cunningham. I was on a scholarship, and worked as a stagehand for the many performances. Cunningham’s classes were stimulating, employing balletic principles of extension that spiraled into new shapes; it seemed expanded and precise. The appeal of the work for me was in the undeniable beauty of the dancing and the dances; but the confrontation of the composition methods employing chance and of the combination of music by John Cage and scenography by Robert Rauschenberg provoked an aesthetic crisis for me. This is probably