Elementary Cunningham Technique Classes Start at DNA, 4/1


Dance New Amsterdam (DNA) announced today that beginning April 1, 2012, with the close of the Merce Cunningham Studio, it will be the place to receive Elementary Cunningham Technique . DNA will provide two classes each week taught by former Merce Cunningham Dance Company members, principally Rashaun Mitchell, Melissa Toogood and Robert Swinston; the classes will give individuals the opportunity to gain and develop a basic and fundamental understanding of the technique. Schedule is as follows: Wednesday, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

To provide dancers and the community an opportunity to experience Elementary Cunningham Technique , in advance of April 1, there will be two free classes, taught by Robert Swinston, Wednesday March 14 and March 28, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

Dance education and training was important to Merce Cunningham, who once said, ³My purpose has not been to make a technique but to make exercises which are useful for the purpose of training dancers. Dance technique is flexible. The whole point in art, in life, is flexibility.² Cunningham Technique is a rigorous training technique for dancers, which places an emphasis on acquiring strength, clarity and precision. The Elementary level is for students new to the technique, but who also have an understanding of basic dance training. Students will learn exercises for the back and how to make changes of weight, as well as combinations of back positions and weight changes in moving phrases. The class will focus on the basic techniques of moving clearly in place and in space.

³As we carry forth Merce¹s artistic legacy into the future, we are excited to be able to share that which Merce developed over his lifetime with those new to his work,² said Robert Swinston, Director of Choreography, Merce Cunningham Trust. ³His technique, where the movement vocabulary is the source material, is free of emotional overload, and emphasizes strength, clarity and precision but also a mental resilience and flexibility. Having shared Merce¹s vision with students around the world during our two year Legacy Tour has been a gratifying experience, and I look forward to work with the students at Dance New Amsterdam to continue to celebrate his creativity and innovation.² 

DNA is a leading choice by dance professionals who seek quality dance training. In a bold new initiative to offer seminal modern dance techniques such as Cunningham Technique , the organization continues to further develop its mission to provide resources for dancers to progress from learner to professional. DNA¹s core training method ­ Simonson Technique ­ and certification programs in Simonson Method of Teacher Training, Choreographic Investigation Course, Steele Pilates, are among DNA¹s professional education programs.

"DNA is honored to work with the Merce Cunningham Trust to give our community a vital technique and dance tradition created by Merce Cunningham,² said Catherine Peila, Executive/Artistic Director. ³We look forward to working closely with their organization over the next months to create a program where dancers can continue to learn first hand from Cunningham masters. The partnership is important for DNA as we seek to further our mission to support the life, career and longevity of dance artists as the foremost progressive hub for high quality contemporary dance education and creative development." 

Additional Cunningham Technique classes are available at the Mark Morris Dance Center and will soon be available at City Center Studios. Classes at the Mark Morris Dance Center currently take place on Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. The Merce Cunningham Trust will begin offering classes at City Center on April 2, 2012. They will take place Monday through Friday at noon.   

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