What to stream: Merce Cunningham captured on film

What to stream: Merce Cunningham captured on film
Still from "Beach Birds for Camera."

The ALL ARTS broadcast channel and streaming app have plenty of arts-related shows and films to choose from, including original productions and archival content.

This week, we’re focusing on Merce Cunningham and his legacy.

As always, you can watch the following list of features online, or on the ALL ARTS app on Roku and anywhere else you stream.

“Walkaround Time”

The 1973 film “Walkaround Time” marks the first of many video collaborations between Charles Atlas and Merce Cunningham. The set, designed by Jasper Johns, features images taken from Marcel Duchamp’s “The Large Glass,” echoing Cunningham’s choreographic nods to the visual artist.

Cunningham, Carolyn Brown, Ulysses Dove, Douglas Dunn, Meg Harper, Susana Hayman-Chaffey, Chris Komar, Sandra Neels, Chase Robinson and Valda Setterfield all perform.

“498 3rd Avenue”

Featuring intimate rehearsal footage and a performance with music by the Velvet Underground, this documentary charts Cunningham’s creation of the 1967 dance “Scramble” and captures the daily life of dancers in the company.

“Split Sides”

Enveloped by the electronic music of Radiohead and Sigur Rós, the 14 dancers that make up the cast of “Split Sides” (2005) progress through two distinct dance parts, each backdropped by two separate designs and outfitted by two sets of costumes. When danced live, these elements were randomly combined, adding a hint of chance to each performance. Video by Charles Atlas.


With a score by David Tudor, set contributions by Andy Warhol and costumes by Jasper Johns, Cunningham’s 1968 “RainForest” is a cultural collision that results in a precise exploration of memory.

“Merce by Merce by Paik”

Divided into two parts, the visually arresting film “Merce by Merce by Paik” features “Blue Studio: Five Segments,” a dance-for-video collaboration created by Cunningham and Charles Atlas, followed by a multi-layered video collage by artist Nam June Paik that pays homage to both Cunningham and Marcel Duchamp.


Debuted in 1994, “Ocean” was originally conceived by Cunningham and his long-time partner John Cage, who died before the work was complete. This version, filmed by Charles Atlas in 2008, was performed within a granite quarry in Waite Park, Minnesota. As envisioned by Cage, the work is danced “in the round.”

“Beach Birds for Camera”

Before it was re-imagined for film, “Beach Birds” was choreographed for the stage for a cast of 11 dancers. In the video adaptation, the piece, which mimics the gentle fade from dawn to dusk, expands to include more dancers, several locations and a variety of filming techniques.


Top Image: Still from "Beach Birds for Camera."