Cunningham's Dance Analysis
Paired with these classical movements we see their arms crossed at the wrist, elbows straight to create an X-shape. In contrast to the slow balletic lines, the women also execute parallel jumps with their arms curving over their heads, contractions that soften their upright torsos, and lateral C-curves. The first section demonstrates that Cunningham began his choreography thinking about the shapes of ballet, then going beyond those familiar forms he explored how the torso could move out of them to create new shapes and movements. This section also reflects classical ballet in the way the women are featured, three regal and controlled women with one man weaving between them, noticing each of them in turn. The women are the subjects of this first section; the man is simply there to enjoy them.
The third section of Septet continues to uphold these balletic gender norms, as a duet enters upstage with the male, Merce Cunningham, leading the