The premise of their work was exciting: Cunningham's response to The Lost Dance Class, written, performed and choreographed, with piano and vocals by John Cage. "Four Walls" was performed only once in 1944, making this reimagined version a kind of fantasy dance: What were Cage and Cunningham like at the beginning of their collaboration?
There were also mirrors, mirrors and more mirrors. A band of 25 doubles and triples surrounded the stage, including musician Vanessa Wagner on piano, stage right, as an anchor in lines and body movements. The show began with a diagonal line of dancers standing in front of a mirror. Soon they will drop their shoulders, raise their arms, or dive into deeper layers.
Her dress, shorts and top were mainly white, gray and black – by Jacobsson, Caley, Augsbourger and Annabelle Saintier – a mix of playwear and athleticism. The actors stretched their bodies in slow motion, not only dancing, but also warming up in front of the class, waiting for the teacher to arrive. Sometimes they seem to indicate movement; Their curved spines and well-aligned controls hinted at Cunningham's tremulous phrasing, but it was smooth, as if not fully integrated into their bodies. Sometimes she looked downright gaga.
And they were mirrors. The set design, also designed by Jakobson and Kelly and illuminated by Eric Wurtz lighting, was a very convincing wall piece. This collection gave the most precise statement of the to-and-fro between infinity and legacy: nothing is in the eternal dance.
But Cunningham wasn't the only ghost in the room. Paul Taylor was more present, from "The Last Look", a dance of despair in which mirrors create a ghostly effect, to "Esplanade", a celebration of pedestrian traffic. In one of the scenes of "Walls" the dancers jumped fearlessly into each other's arms. But a lot was lost in this episode. The decor did not enhance the dance, the occasion was the dance. It was like watching magic: not only did you know the trick, but you knew you had been tricked.