In the original iteration of Cage Shuffle, Paul Lazar speaks a series of one-minute stories by John Cage from his 1963 score Indeterminacy while simultaneously performing choreography by Annie-B Parson. The stories are spoken in a random order with no predetermined relationship to the dancing. Chance serves up its inevitable blend of strange and uncanny connections between text and movement.
The flexibility (elasticity) of the form makes Cage Shuffle an ideal vehicle for students as it can be performed by any number of people. It is a discovery of the multiple ways in which speech and movement can live and thrive in both a dance and a theatre context. There are myriad other texts that can marry with the Cage Shuffle choreography in ways that resonate in a compelling and non-literal way.
A Cage Shuffle Repertory Workshop is equally appropriate for Dancers as well as Theater makers. It offers a unique opportunity for people from both of those disciplines to work together and has been successful at Universities including Harvard University, Cornish College, and California Institute of the Arts.
Originally a 45 min. Solo, Cage Shuffle can be adapted to a large group and can be whatever length suits.
The sequence of the stories is random.
The sequence of the dance is not.
The performer follows Cage’s original performance instructions:
Read stories aloud, with or without additional musical accompaniment, paced so that each story takes one minute.
Read all stories in order or select a smaller number, using chance procedures or not.
“Paul and Annie-B’s Cage Shuffle is one of my favorite pieces ever. The cage stories are good to begin with, amusing in a Zen kind of way, but when further randomized and amplified with the dance, and with Paul’s voice- well, it becomes no longer a rarified Cage piece but is transformed into something that is accessible to everyone. Beautiful, profound and hilarious – as all things should be.”
– David Byrne