To give an idea of Cunningham—the heightened attention his dances afford, at the base of which is a faith that every atom of life counts, though it may skitter by too fast to be counted—I sometimes turn to Bruegel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. The farmer is behind his plough, the shepherd has turned from his flock to gaze abstractedly at a leafy tree, the merchant ship rushes toward the bright horizon with the wind bowling the sails, when Icarus drowns. In Cunningham, Icarus would go unnamed—no myth to add import to a boy’s drop into a smudge of sea.
Calvin Royal III in excerpt from “Scenario” a part of 92Y's Harkness Dance Festival, 2019. Photograph by Julie Lemberger