Tag Archives: Nicholas Sciscione


“The beauty of dance… is that it gets passed from one body, one soul, to another. There’s something so beautiful, so precious about that. It comes out of the body, it goes into the air, and then it disappears.” — Stephen Petronio

In the afterglow of the Merce Cunningham—Night of 100 Solos events, the immersive new documentary IF THE DANCER DANCES tells a different Cunningham story: the 2015 restaging of the choreographer’s RainForest by the Stephen Petronio Company.

The sexual quality and hint of narrative in this 1968 dance—with music by David Tudor, costumes by Jasper Johns, and décor by Andy Warhol (the silver, helium-filled pillows)—create an atmosphere distinct from almost every other Cunningham work. The challenge for the stagers—and Cunningham company veterans—Andrea Weber, Meg Harper, and Rashaun Mitchell is replacing the continuous-movement ethos of the Petronio dancers with Cunningham’s non-momentum aesthetic. As the film demonstrates, how to do this is perhaps a subject of dispute:

“The focus needs to be exactly on what you’re doing, and not on an image of anything.” — Meg Harper

RainForest… transcended pure movement… [The dancers] need to hear images that might help them.” — Gus Solomons, Jr., Cunningham company veteran

IF THE DANCER DANCES—directed by Lise Friedman and Maia Wechsler—mixes extensive performance and interview footage of Petronio’s dancers and their teachers with scenes of Cunningham rehearsals from the 1960s. This essential document of modern dance making and Cunningham’s philosophy and practice is playing around town through May 9.


Through May 9.

Q & A with former Cunningham dancers following 3 pm show on May 4.

Music Hall

9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.


Monday and Tuesday, May 6 and 7.

Q & A with former Cunningham dancers following 7:30 pm show on May 6.


11523 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

Playhouse 7

673 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena.

From top: Nicholas Sciscione and Davalois Fearon in If the Dancer Dances, performing Merce Cunningham ‘s RainForest; Jaqlin Medlock and Sciscione rehearsing RainForest; Meg Harper (center) with Fearon in rehearsal, Gino Grenek behind Foster; Stephen Petronio Company, Grenek, Fearon, and Sciscione, RainForest performance, Joyce Theater, April 2015, photograph by Yi-Chun Wu, image © 2015 and courtesy the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, and the photographer; Stephen Petronio. Film stills courtesy of Monument Releasing. Below: Merce Cunningham in RainForest, 1968, photograph by Martha Keller, courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust.


In conjunction with the exhibition JUDSON DANCE THEATER—THE WORK IS NEVER DONE, members of the Stephen Petronio Company* will reconstruct Jag Vill Gärna Telefonera, the 1964 dance by Judson founding member Steve Paxton, as well as Paxton’s improvisation set to Glenn Gould’s rendition of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations.



Sunday through Tuesday, December 9, 10, and 11.

Thursday through Saturday, December 13, 14, and 15.

Performances at noon, 1:30 pm, and 3 pm.

Museum of Modern Art

11 West 53rd Street, New York City.

Performance brochure

*Bria Bacon, Ernesto Breton, Jaqlin Medlock, Tess Montoya, Ryan Pliss, Nicholas Sciscione, Mac Twining, and Megan Wright.

Above and below: Steve Paxton.



Nicholas Sciscione will dance an excerpt from Steve Paxton’s GOLDBERG VARIATIONS during the opening weekend of Cathy Weis Project’s Sundays on Broadway fall 2018 season.

Sciscione dances with the Stephen Petronio Company, and is an assistant to the artistic director.

Also on the bill: Patricia Hoffbauer and David Thomson will perform their DARK & STORMY—WHEN THINGS GET ROUGH, GRAB PUSSY.

And Weis will show excerpts of videos she shot in the mid-’80s of Paxton improvising in Philadelphia and Vermont to Bach’s Goldberg Variations, played by Glenn Gould.



Sunday, November 4, at 6 pm.

WeisAcres, 537 Broadway, #3, New York City.

Steve Paxton, Goldberg Variations, danced by Nicholas Sciscione, photographed by Julie Lemberger.