Merce Cunningham Trust Announces Spring Programming For Global Centennial Celebration
Spring activities for the Centennial, which continues through all of 2019, include a wide range of performances, film screenings, discussions, education initiatives, community programming, and new works by other artists in conversation with Merce Cunningham's work.
On April 16, 2019, which would have been the legendary choreographer's 100th birthday, Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event, the largest Cunningham Event ever staged, will take place at the Barbican (London), BAM (New York City), and CAP UCLA (Los Angeles).
Please see the Calendar on the Merce Cunningham Trust website for the most up-to-date schedule.
Today the Merce Cunningham Trust announces programming for the Spring 2019 season of the worldwide Merce Cunningham Centennial, which unites artists, companies, and cultural and educational institutions in a multifaceted display and celebration of Cunningham's vital impact. The Merce Cunningham Centennial, launched this past fall and continuing throughout all of 2019, celebrates the legacy of one of the most influential choreographers of our time with events reaching from Los Angeles to Havana to New Plymouth, New Zealand. The Centennial's breadth of activities and diversity of participating partners demonstrate the profound, enduring resonance of the choreographer's work and his approach to how the body moves in time and space.
Amid the performances, film screenings, discussions, curricula, and more presented during the Spring season is the multi-city Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event, the largest Cunningham Event ever staged, which takes place on what would have been Merce Cunningham's 100th birthday-April 16, 2019. The Event will feature 75 dancers from around the world spread across the Event's three venues: the Barbican, London; the Brooklyn Academy Of Music (BAM) in New York; and UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) in Los Angeles. In each theater, 25 dancers from a wide range of practices and companies will perform a distinct, 75-minute Event comprised of a unique selection of 100 solos choreographed by Cunningham, with an ensemble of musicians at the vanguard of contemporary music providing a score. In addition, Night of 100 Solos (in all three venues) will be live-streamed around the world. Demonstrating a core tenet of the Trust's mission-passing Cunningham's singular vision to future generations-Night of 100 Solos brings those closest to his legacy together to pass it on, as nearly half of Cunningham's former dancers will participate in the coaching and staging of the various solos.
The Trust is also developing a series of Centennial Community Programs intended to bring Cunningham's work, artistic process, and legacy to a public that would otherwise not have access to them. The Spring 2019 activities that are part of this initiative, which is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, are asterisked below.
While still in his teens, Merce Cunningham moved from Seattle to NYC to dance for a then-largely-unknown choreographer whose work had caught his attention at school-Martha Graham, with whose company he ended up dancing as a soloist for six years. Following his tenure with the Martha Graham Dance Company, he would continue for six decades to create hundreds of groundbreaking works in the city he came to call home, sharing his homespun technique with thousands of dancers from around the world who came to New York to study with him. Cunningham's influence on the arts in New York was so seismic that in 1999, the city honored him with the Handel Medallion, "the highest award bestowed by New York City to individuals for their contributions to [its] intellectual and cultural life." This season, New York takes center stage in the Merce Cunningham Centennial Celebration.
The Joyce Theater, where the Merce Cunningham Dance Company performed many times, will present Malpaso Dance Company performing Cunningham's Fielding Sixes (1980) as part of their Tabula Rasa program (January 7-14; they will perform the dance again in Havana at the Teatro Marti May 10-12). From April 17-21, the Joyce will also bring together and present Ballet West (performing Summerspace from 1958 with music by Morton Feldman and set and costumes by Robert Rauschenberg), Washington Ballet (performing the 1980 Duets with music by John Cage), and Compagnie CNDC-Angers/Robert Swinston (performing the 1956 dance Suite for Five, with John Cage music and Robert Rauschenberg costumes).
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts presents the Stephen Petronio Company performing Tread (1970) with scenery by Bruce Nauman as part of the company's Bloodlines series (April 11-13), and an "In Conversation with Merce"*event (May 3-4)-part of a series of workshops and performances fostering currently practicing artists' engagement with Cunningham's legacy. NYU Skirball's version of this program will feature world premiere commissions from Netta Yerushalmy, Moriah Evans, and Mina Nishimura.
Baryshnikov Arts Center recently announced the 2018-19 Cage Cunningham Fellowship to support artists who embody John Cage and Merce Cunningham's commitment to artistic innovation. In recognition of the Centennial, this annual award has expanded from $50,000 to $100,000 to support five artists creating and showcasing new work: filmmaker Charles Atlas, multimedia artist Tei Blow, composer/musician Phyllis Chen, and choreographers/dancers Liz Gerring and Silas Riener.*
For their 25th Anniversary and the Centennial, the 92ndStreet Y's ("92|Y") Harkness Dance Festival will devote the whole month of March 2019 to Cunningham. The festival kicks off with A Feast of Cunningham, a weekend of dances choreographed by Cunningham, performed by Melissa Toogood, Calvin Royal III, New York Theatre Ballet, and the New World School of the Arts (March 1 & 2 at 92|Y). As testament to his influence, the festival will present a series of world premieres by former Merce Cunningham Dance Company members including Douglas Dunn (March 8-9), Dylan Crossman (March 15-16), Jonah Bokaer Choreography (March 22-23), and Ellen Cornfield (March 29-30). Beyond performances, the festival will offer the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) Weekend Workshop - Cunningham at 100: Experimentation, Innovation and Celebration*, with Jennifer Goggans, Catherine Gallant, and Hetty King (March 3 & 10). Following the 92|Y's March programming, former New York Times chief dance critic Alastair Macaulay will discuss Cunningham on May 3 as part of the 92|Y Harkness Dance Center's long-running Fridays at Noon program.
In addition to their Harkness Dance Festival Performances, New York Theatre Ballet will perform Scramble with music by Toshi Ichiyanagi and a set by Frank Stella at Danspace (March 14-16).
In addition to live performances, New York will host film screenings of work by and about Cunningham. High Line Art will present For Camera, a video exhibition of three Cunningham films-Beach Birds for Camera (1992), directed by Elliot Caplan, and Locale (1980) and Channels/Inserts (1982), directed by Charles Atlas. They will be displayed in a semi-enclosed passageway in one of New York's most dynamic locations, the High Line, between January 3 and February 27. Similarly honoring Cunningham's investigation of dance on film-which became integral to the evolution of Cunningham's art, and thereby to that of dance itself-New York's Anthology Film Archives inaugurated an ongoing series focused on Cunningham's films and videos in November 2018. This spring on seven consecutive Mondays, their programming will include Cunningham's collaborations with directors Arne Arnbom, Charles Atlas, and Elliot Caplan.
At New York City Center-where Cunningham premiered many works, and in whose studios the Merce Cunningham Trust continues to teach Cunningham Technique, Alastair Macaulay will host an evening of discussion and performance excerpts on January 28 as part of the Studio 5 series. Also, at the City Center Harkness Studio, Jorge Otero-Pailos has created an immersive installation, featuring a sound collage of dancers learning to dance Merce Cunningham choreography; the installation opened October 15, 2018, and will be on view March 2-10 & April 29-May 5.
As various artistic programs physically represent the breadth of what Cunningham created in his 70-year career, New York audiences will get a chance to engage this considerable legacy through talks at New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The Library will celebrate the Centennial with a day-long symposium on the choreographer, in which their current cohort of Dance Research Fellows will present on their various Cunningham-related study: Claire Bishop (Cunningham's Events), Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung (costumes), Robert Greskovic (scenic design), Justin Tornow (Cunningham Technique), Preeti Vasudevan (Cage and Cunningham in India), and Netta Yerushalmy (Cunningham and private artistic practice) (January 25, 2019, at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts). The Performing Arts Library will follow this with Merce Cunningham: Life and Art, a lecture by Alastair Macaulay on February 11.
Across the United States
Programs across the United States will highlight Cunningham's impact as a leader of innovation in American art. In Seattle, Spectrum Dance will present Crises (1960, with music by Conlon Nancarrow and costumes by Robert Rauschenberg) as part of their Dance, Dance, Dance program (April 18-20). Audiences in Washington, DC will have the opportunity to enjoy Night Wandering (1964) and an even earlier Cunningham work, Totem Ancestor (1942), presented by Dance Place and performed by John Scott Dance and Guests, alongside choreography by Scott (July 27-28). Massachusetts dance center Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival will present a program of dance and archival film with Compagnie CNDC-Angers/Robert Swinston on the Ted Shawn Theater stage (July 3-7). Meg Eginton will present Very Very Fast or Very Very Slow: Dancing from the Inside Out, a talk excerpts from dances 1977-1980 at the 19th Century Club in Iowa City (February 19).
If the Dancer Dances, a documentary featuring the Stephen Petronio Company and former members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, will be featured at the New World Symphony as part of ScreenDance Miami Festival, a Program of the Miami Light Project (January 18). The film, by Lise Friedman and Maia Wechsler, is the first documentary on the subject of Cunningham's work since his passing. It will also be screened at EPOS - The International Art Film Festival in Tel Aviv (March), at the Barbican, London (April 6), and at the University of Washington's Henry Art Gallery in Seattle (April 11).
Dance Film San Francisco will present a special screening of the 1968 film Assemblage featuring the Merce Cunningham Dance Company performing throughout Ghirardelli Square, and a panel with Margaret Jenkins, Hope Mohr, Charles Moulton, Karen Attix, moderated by Claudia Bauer (May 4, at the Delancey Street Screening Room in San Francisco).
LACMA's (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) Merce Cunningham, Clouds and Screens, which opened in October 2018, and includes Andy Warhol's Silver Clouds, the scenery for the iconic RainForest (1968), Charles Atlas's MC9, a large video installation featuring 21 Cunningham filmdances, speaks to the considerable influence Cunningham had on the visual art world. It will be on view through March 31, 2019. Silver Clouds is also featured in the retrospective Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Againat the Whitney Museum of American Art through March 31, 2019.
Around the World
On Cunningham's first international tour with his company including John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg in 1964, his innovative vision was so glowingly received in London that they stayed and performed for an extra two-and-a-half weeks. In an article headlined "U.S. Dancers Win Hearts in London; Merce Cunningham Conquers Conservatism," the New York Times wrote, "Mr. Cunningham is an iconoclast and is welcome in an art that has always suffered from a surfeit of icons and a deficiency of iconoclasts..." The success of this tour was a springboard for Cunningham's influence in Europe, and led to consistent world tours across the company's nearly six-decade existence. Numerous Centennial performances will acknowledge and extend Cunningham's international legacy.
In London, The British Academy will host Thinkers For Our Time: Merce Cunningham, a panel featuring Alastair Macaulay, reflecting on Cunningham's extraordinary life and legacy (March 12). At Silk Street Theater, Trevor Carlson and Ferran Carvajal present Not a moment too soon, a multidisciplinary performance piece recalling the shared journey of Carlson and Cunningham at the end of the choreographer's life (April 4 - 6).
In Spain, from January 2-5, Festival FIVER*, an international platform to support and popularize the dance genre in its audiovisual-cinematographic form, will join the Centennial with the film and video exhibition Espacio Cunningham, as well as displays of Mondays with Merce and Charles Atlas' documentary about Cunningham, Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance, and a film by Eric Minh Cuong Castainginspired by Cunningham,at the Riojan Athenaeum (La Rioja, Spain).
In France, CCN -Ballet de Lorraine will continue their Fall season performances of Cunningham's complex and vigorous Sounddance (1975) with a score by David Tudor, and Cunningham's RainForest (1968), also scored by Tudor with set by Andy Warhol. For their tour throughout France, they will add For Four Walls, by Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley, a re-reading of the original piece Four Walls by Merce Cunningham and John Cage, to their repertoire. Similarly, Compagnie CNDC-Angers/Robert Swinston continues its Fall season's revivals with multiple performances in France of BIPED (1999), noted for its use of motion capture technology that transposes Cunningham's choreography into a set design by Shelley Eshkar and Paul Kaiser; and Beach Birds (1991), with music by John Cage, and Marsha Skinner's costumes and lighting.
In Italy, R.B Jérôme Bel will feature the eponymous solo, Cédric Andrieux, conceived by Jérôme Bel for the former Merce Cunningham Dance Company member, in the Centennial for a second time this spring. The dance traverses Andrieux's artistic career in words and choreographed excerpts, and, in the process, reveals the emotional and physical life of someone who spent eight years in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (March 9, at the Lavanderia a Vapore, Italy).
In Germany, Ballett am Rhein will highlight works by four legends of American Modern Dance, performing Cunningham's Nordic terrain-evoking duet Night Wandering (1958), as well as dances by Mark Morris, Trisha Brown, and Paul Taylor (June 8-July 12 at Opernhaus Düsseldorf).
A residency at London's Studio Wayne McGregor will feature a comprehensive series of workshops*, from March 2-March 11. Trevor Carlson will lead a Chance Procedures workshop for Families and a DanceForms workshop for adults; former Cunningham dancers will lead an open technique class and a professional level lab. The workshop series will also feature open rehearsal days, displays of Mondays with Merce on screens in the studios throughout the month of March, and a panel-Preserving a Dance Legacy: The Cunningham Legacy Plan.
The Trust recognizes education as key to nurturing audiences and preserving a legacy that continues to inspire and invigorate the arts through time. It has supported and built lasting relationships with educational institutions where the rigorous Cunningham Techniqueand Cunningham repertory are taught, many of which will feature Cunningham performances and workshops during the Spring season.
At the American Dance Festival, Melissa Toogood will teach a Cunningham Repertory Workshop*(January 4 - 11),and Andrea Weber will stage How to Pass, Kick, Fall, and Run (for the ADF students with performances July 19 & 20). The University of North Carolina's School of the Arts has appointed Jamie Scott, a former dancer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, as a guest faculty member for the spring semester (January - April). The University of Virginia's Dance Minor Program will host weekly screenings of the series Mondays with Merce, on Mondays (all day), from January 14 - April 29. Colburn School's Colburn Youth Dance Modern will perform Cunningham's Scramble (1967) (January 26 and May 11 in Los Angeles). Jennifer Goggans and Dylan Crossman will teach a day-long workshop as part of a NYC Department of Education Professional Development Day* (March 20). The Dance Department at Cornish College of the Arts (Cunningham's alma matter) in collaboration with the University of Washington in Seattle will welcome Silas Riener for a two-week residency, where he'll lead a workshop with students across creative disciplines, applying chance operations to making new work (April 1-12). Tisch NYU's Second Avenue Dance Company (SADC) will perform an SADC MinEvent, arranged by former Merce Cunningham Dance Company member and Merce Cunningham Trust Trustee Rashaun Mitchell with an original score composed by Jonathan Matthews (April 3 - 7, 2019). At Winthrop University, there will be a showing of student and faculty work created in a class taught by Sandra Neels entitled: Just By Chance (April 13). The Student Company of The School at the Mark Morris Dance Center will celebrate the Centennial with two classes led by Jean Freebury on April 11, and as part of their Annual Spring Performance (May 17 & 18 at the Mark Morris Dance Center, Brooklyn). Participation by Miami's New World School of the Arts in the Centennial began in the Fall season and takes a variety of forms. This spring, they will present Merce in Miami, featuring works created for the camera by Cunningham (January 10 &11) with Q&As with Trevor Carlson and dancers who participated in the films. Workshops will be given at NWSA by Carlson* (January 7-11) and Silas Riener (culminating in a showing on May 31), and Melissa Toogood will conclude a two-week residency beginning February 1, 2018 with an open rehearsal of a MinEvent that will be performed as part of NWSA's Spring Dances April 24, 26-28, 2019. The Missouri State University Department of Theatre & Dance is hosting the American College Dance Association 2019 Central Region conference, which will include a presentation of a Cunningham workshop* led by Paige Cunningham Caldarella, on March 16th. The University of Oklahoma School of Dance will pay homage to Cunningham with a performance of one of his classic works, How to Pass, Kick, Fall, and Run (April 5-14 at the Elsie C. Brackett Theater). In Orange County, CA, creative youth development nonprofit The Wooden Floor will commission Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener for the 2019 Co-Creation Lab*, which includes a 3-week residency in July, for its student body of 475, and the creation of a piece for public performances (July 18-20).
Major funding for the Centennial celebration is provided by the Merce Cunningham Trust, the Paul L. Wattis Foundation, American Express, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and Judith Pisar. Additional funding is provided by Judith and Alan Fishman, and Molly Davies.
Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event is supported by a major grant from the Howard Gilman Foundation and additional support from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and Studio Wayne McGregor.
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is the major supporter of the Centennial Community Programming.
The Merce Cunningham Trust strives to maintain Cunningham's legacy through active engagement with current and new generations of dancers and audiences. Paramount in its efforts is the goal of ensuring that the proper resources exist for Cunningham's work to flourish with these groups. Recognizing the unique nature of dance, including its ephemerality, the Trust focuses on how Cunningham's choreographic output can be transmitted from body to body, in addition to preserving and disseminating records and written aspects of the work. The Centennial exemplifies the Trust's aims for the future: harnessing Cunningham's work, practice, ideas, and spirit in its perpetuation of his impact.
MERCE CUNNINGHAM CENTENNIAL - SCHEDULE OF ANNOUNCED EVENTS
Calle Muro de Cervantes, 1
26001 Logroño, La Rioja, Spain
FIVER, in collaboration with the Merce Cunningham Trust and support from REDIV (the Network of Ibero-American Videodance Festivals), joins the Merce Cunningham Centennial by presenting Espacio Cunningham, an exhibition of film and video by Cunningham at the Riojan Athenaeum in La Rioja, Spain. In addition, Mondays with Merce and Charles Atlas' documentary about Cunningham, Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance will be exhibited.
Also on exhibit will be works by FIVER's outstanding international artist award 2019 recipient, Eric Minh Cuong Castaing, including his short film Kid Birds, inspired by Cunningham's life work and awarded best film by FIVER in 2016. Merce Cunningham and Merce Cunningham Trust are the Honorary Award recipients of FIVER'19.
FIVER is an international platform to support and popularize dance genre in its audiovisual-cinematographic form, and is the first festival of its kind to be included in the Film Festivals lists of Spain's ICAA (Institute of Cinematography and Visual Arts).
Curated by Samuel Retortillo (in collaboration with Trevor Carlson, FIVER, and REDIV).
High Line Art
January 3-February 27, 2019
On the High Line at 14th St.
High Line Art presents For Camera, a video exhibition of three works by Merce Cunningham that will screen as a part of High Line Channel, its ongoing series of video projections in the semi-enclosed passageway on the High Line at 14th St.
A perpetual innovator and routine collaborator, Cunningham worked with artists, musicians, dancers, scenographers, and more. In particular, he used film to both document his performances and as a medium in its own right, often collaborating with filmmakers to stage dances specifically made for the camera. For this program, High Line Art will screen three such works: Beach Birds for Camera (1992), made in collaboration with director and filmmaker Elliot Caplan, and Locale (1980) and Channels/Inserts (1982), made in collaboration with the artist Charles Atlas. Atlas is an American filmmaker and video artist who has worked across film, dance, and performance for decades, and was a lighting designer at the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Caplan was the filmmaker-in-residence at the Cunningham Dance Foundation from 1983-1998 and worked closely with both Cunningham and his partner, the composer John Cage, in the realization of many works.
American Dance Festival
ADF's NYC Winter Intensive at NYU Tisch Dance School
Taught by Melissa Toogood
January 4-11, 2019
NYU Tisch Dance,
111 2nd Ave, New York
Melissa Toogood will begin each day working on some of the back exercises from the Cunningham Technique class, which will inform the body for the repertory. Students will also work on various phrase material that spans different decades of Cunningham's work, and use chance procedures to arrange a sequence.
How to Pass, Kick, Fall, and Run
Staged by Andrea Weber
July 19 & 20
American Dance Festival
715 Broad St, Durham, NC
Andrea Weber will stage How to Pass, Kick, Fall, and Runfor the ADF students in summer 2019, during her residency from June 13 - July 20, with performances on July 19 & 20. There will also be community classes taught by Glen Rumsey, with dates to be announced.
Malpaso Dance Company
January 7 & 13 at 7:30pm, January 10, 11, 12 at 8pm, January 13 at 2pm
75 8th Ave
New York, NY 10011
May 10, 11 & 12 2019
La Habana, Cuba
Malpaso Dance Company comes back to The Joyce with its dazzling, classically trained dancers in Tabula Rasa, a hard-driving work by choreographer Ohad Naharin, who recently traveled to Cuba to restage this rarely performed dance. Additional works from the company's growing repertory-which includes pieces by internationally recognized choreographers and promising Cuban talent-will round out the program, which features Fielding Sixes by Merce Cunningham, Carrying My Own Floor by Abel Rojo, Serby Beatriz Garcia Diaz, and Tabula Rasaby Ohad Naharin. The company will also perform Fielding Sixes at the Teatro Marti in Havana, Cuba, as part of their next home season (May 11-12, 2019).
Anthology Film Archives
As part of the Merce Cunningham centennial celebrations, Anthology will host an ongoing series focused on Cunningham's films and videos, calling attention to the presence of the moving image throughout his career.
All screenings will take place at:
Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
Arne Arnbom: Antic Meet / Night Wandering
Mon, Jan 7 at 7:30pm
These films, directed by Arne Arnbom for Swedish Television, radiate the enchantment of early cinema, and are performed in evocative costumes designed by Robert Rauschenberg. Antic Meet consists of ten playful and comedic numbers, performed like a series of overlapping vaudeville scenes, while Night Wandering suggests the haunting experience of traveling through a snowy landscape under a limitless Northern night sky.
Antic Meet: 1964, 27 min, 16mm-to-digital. Set and Costumes: Robert Rauschenberg. Dancers: Carolyn Brown, Merce Cunningham, Viola Farber, Sandra Neels, Steve Paxton, and Anneliese Widman. Music: John Cage.
Night Wandering: 1964, 18 min, 16mm-to-digital. Costumes: Robert Rauschenberg. Music: Bo Nilsson. Dancers: Carolyn Brown & Merce Cunningham.
Charles Atlas: Squaregame Video / Locale
With an introduction and Q&A by Karole Armitage (Merce Cunningham Dance Company member 1975- 81)
Mon, Jan 14 at 7:30pm
The unique collaboration between Cunningham and artist Charles Atlas, who together developed the concept of a dance choreographed specifically for the camera, is on full display in these two works. The choreography of Squaregame Video, a spare, intimate dance staged and recorded in Cunningham's Westbeth studio, fits within a limited square area, and is further boxed in by the vernacular of video. In Locale, Atlas used three film cameras (a Steadicam, a Movieola crab dolly, and an Elemac dolly with a crane arm) to fluidly map each camera's movements onto Cunningham's choreography. Both dances are accompanied by Takehisa Kosugi's music, foregrounding the avant-garde musician's important role in engaging the ear on a different register. Kosugi, who passed away in October, later served as the Cunningham Dance Company's musical director from 1995 to 2011.
Squaregame Video: 1976, 25 min, video. Dancers: Karole Armitage, Karen Attix, Ellen Cornfield, Merce Cunningham, Morgan Ensminger, Meg Harper, Susana Hayman-Chaffey, Catherine Kerr, Chris Komar, Robert Kovich, Raymond Kurshals & Julie Roess-Smith. Music: Takehisa Kosugi, "S.E. Wave/E.W. Wave Song."
Locale: 1980, 30 min, 16mm-to-digital. Dancers: Karole Armitage, Louise Burns, Ellen Cornfield, Meg Eginton, Susan Emery, Lisa Fox, Lise Friedman, Alan Good, Catherine Kerr, Chris Komar, Robert Kovich, Joseph Lennon, Rob Remley & Jim Self. Music: Takehisa Kosugi, "Interspersion."
Charles Atlas: Fractions I / Channels-Inserts
With an introduction and Q&A with Charles Atlas
Mon, Jan 21 at 7:30pm
In Fractions I four video monitors share the screen space with the dancers, displaying close-ups of the performers throughout the dance. The images mediated by the monitors share the same "tense" as the live dancers, calling attention to the limited frame imposed by video recording, and provoking the boundaries of perception. To create Channels-Inserts, Cunningham and Atlas divided the Company's Westbeth studio into sixteen possible areas for dancing and used chance methods based on the I Ching to determine the order in which these spaces would be used, the number of dancers to be seen, and the events that would occur in each space. Atlas employed cross-cutting and animated mattes or wipes to indicate a simultaneity of dance events occurring in different spaces, as well as to allow for diversity in the continuity of the image.
Fractions I: 1978, 32 min, video. Dancers: Karole Armitage, Louise Burns, Graham Conley, Ellen Cornfield, Meg Eginton, Lisa Fox, Chris Komar & Robert Kovich. Music: Jon Gibson, "Equal Distribution."
Channels-Inserts: 1982, 32 min, 16mm-to-digital. Dancers: Karole Armitage, Louise Burns, Ellen Cornfield, Susan Emery, Lise Friedman, Alan Good, Neil Greenberg, Catherine Kerr, Chris Komar, Judy Lazaroff, Joseph Lennon, Rob Remley, Robert Swinston & Megan Walker. Music: David Tudor, "PHONEMES."
Elliot Caplan: Points in Space
With an introduction and Q&A with Elliot Caplan
Mon, Jan 28 at 7:30pm
Elliot Caplan's documentary for the BBC offers a rare behind-the-scenes perspective on the complexities and exhilarations of bringing a new dance to television. Cunningham, Cage, and members of the company are interviewed alongside scenes from rehearsals in New York and London. The documentary culminates in a full staging of the Points in Space dance.
Points in Space: 1986, 55 min, video. Dancers: Helen Barrow, Merce Cunningham, Victoria Finlayson, Alan Good, Catherine Kerr, Chris Komar, David Kulick, Patricia Lent, Karen Radford, Rob Remley, Kristy Santimyer, Kevin Schroder, Carol Teitelbaum, Megan Walker & Susan Quinn. Music: John Cage, "Voiceless Essay."
Charles Atlas: CRWDSPCR and
Elliot Caplan: CRWDSPCR (documentary)
Mon, Feb 4 at 7:30pm
At age seventy, Cunningham became the first choreographer of international renown to create work in dialogue with software technologies. In program notes to a performance of the dance, Cunningham suggested that the vowel-less title, pronounced either "crowd spacer" or "crowds pacer," referred to the way in which technology both crowded space and quickened the pace of daily life. CRWDSPCR merges Cunningham's vision of a decentered organization of the stage with his use of the computer as a conceptual extension of chance-generated decision-making. Elliot Caplan's 1996 documentary CRWDSPCR documents the rehearsal and production of the dance, which was commissioned for the stage by the American Dance Festival and first performed in Durham, North Carolina, on July 15, 1993.
Charles Atlas' CRWDSPCR: 2008, 29 min, digital. Dancers: Cédric Andrieux, Jonah Bokaer Choreography, Lisa Boudreau, Brandon Collwes, Julie Cunningham, Emma Desjardins, Holley Farmer, Jennifer Goggans, Rashaun Mitchell, Koji Mizuta, Marcie Munnerlyn, Daniel Squire & Andrea Weber. Music: John King, "blues '99."
Elliot Caplan's CRWDSPCR (documentary): 1996, 52 min, digital. Dancers: Kimberly Bartosik, Michael Cole, Emma Diamond, Jean Freebury, Frédéric (Foofwa d'Imobilité) Gafner, Alan Good, Chris Komar, David Kulick, China Laudisio, Patricia Lent, Banu Ogan, Jared Phillips, Glen Rumsey, Jeannie Steele, Robert Swinston, Carol Teitelbaum & Cheryl Therrien. Music: John King, "blues '99."
Charles Atlas: Ocean
Mon, Feb 11 at 7:30pm
Charles Atlas's Ocean captures the breathtaking 2008 performances of Cunningham's seminal dance work of the same title. Completed in 1994, Cunningham's 90-minute opus was jointly conceived with John Cage prior to his passing in 1992. Cage's original ideas stemmed from a commission about novelist James Joyce. Similarly, Atlas's film serves as an ode to his four-decades-long collaboration with Cunningham, who died in 2009, before the film was finished. Atlas's Ocean celebrates these histories and their relation to the intertwining of video, music, and dance.
Ocean: 2010, 100 min, digital. Dancers: Brandon Collwes, Julie Cunningham, Emma Desjardins, Holley Farmer, Jennifer Goggans, Daniel Madoff, Rashaun Mitchell, Koji Mizuta, Marcie Munnerlyn, Silas Riener, Daniel Squire, Robert Swinston & Melissa Toogood. Music: Andrew Culver, "Ocean 1-133," performed by the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, and David Tudor, "Soundings: Ocean Diary," performed by David Behrman, John King & Takehisa Kosugi.
Charles Atlas: BIPED
With an introduction and Q&A with Alastair Macaulay
Mon, Feb 18 at 7:30pm
In his New York Times review of a staging of BIPED at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music in 2011, following Cunningham's death, Alastair Macaulay wrote, "BIPED, the most sensationally imaginative work of Cunningham's last 20 years, is at once a triumphant outpouring of pure dance invention and a masterpiece of theatrical poetry. [...] Stylistically, the choreography is the most heroic flowering of the late period in which Cunningham, devising dances on his computer, made novel and rigorous combinations of the movements of his dancers' legs, torsos and arms. The work's fatefulness - greatly heightened by Aaron Copp's changing-chessboard lighting; the computer-generated imagery on the décor by Shelley Eshkar and Paul Kaiser; the metallically shimmering costumes by Suzanne Gallo; and the shifting moods of lyricism, chance and doom in Gavin Bryars's music - is powerfully juxtaposed by the energy of the dancing."
BIPED: 2005, 52 min, digital. Dancers: Lisa Boudreau, Thomas Caley, Holley Farmer, Maydelle Fason, Jean Freebury, David Kulick, Matthew Mohr, Banu Ogan, Glen Rumsey, Daniel Squire, Jeannie Steele, Derry Swan, Robert Swinston & Cheryl Therrien. Music: Gavin Bryars, "Biped."
New World School of the Arts
Merce in Miami 100
New World Dance Theater
25 NE 2 Street, 8th Floor, Miami, Florida
Workshop for New World School of the Arts students - Cunningham and DanceForms
Trevor Carlson will lead a four-day workshop in Merce Cunningham's use of the computer software, DanceForms, in choreographing.
Dance on Film: Merce Cunningham
Views & Melange & Assemblage
Presented by NWSA and the Merce Cunningham Trust Centennial
January 10 and 11 at 7:00pm
Two evenings of dance films created for the camera by Cunningham, with an introduction and audience Q&A with Trevor Carlson, and dancers who participated in these films, Lisa Boudreau and Susana Hayman-Chaffey.
MinEvent by Merce Cunningham
Staged by Melissa Toogood
February 1; 4:30 PM
A preview of the Merce Cunningham MinEvent, staged by award-winning NWSA alumna Melissa Toogood, at NWSA as part of the Spring Dances performances in April. This showing will be the culmination of Toogood's two-week residency and will include a Q&A for the audiences with Ms. Toogood (herself an alumna of New World School of the Arts) and the dancers and will provide insights into the work and ideas of Merce Cunningham as part of the Centennial celebrations in his honor.
April 24, 26, 27, 28
Among the works on this program will be a MinEvent, staged by NWSA alumna Melissa Toogood for selected New World School of the Arts dancers.
Workshop Final Showing*
May 31, 2019 at 11am
This showing is the culmination of a three-week workshop, conducted by Bessie Award-winning dancer/choreographer Silas Riener exploring the technique, repertory, and compositional ideas of Merce Cunningham, in whose company Mr. Riener performed. The showing will be followed by a Q&A with the audience members. The event, presented with the support of the Merce Cunningham Trust Centennial, is free and open to the public.
If the Dancer Dances
Friday, January 18, 2019*
Presented as part of the ScreenDance MiamiFestival 2019
Co-Sponsored by New World School of the Arts and Miami Light Project
At the New World Symphony Wallcast
New World Symphony, 500 17th Street
Miami Beach, FL
Sunday, March 10, 2019
235 Taylor St
Port Townsend, WA
March (date TBC)
EPOS - The International Art Film Festival
Tel Aviv, Israel
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Barbican Cinemas 2
Beech Street, London
Thursday, April 11, 7pm
Henry Art Museum
15th Ave NE & NE 41st St
University of Washington campus, Seattle, WA
If the Dancer Dances invites viewers into the intimate world of the dance studio, where three former members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company teach Cunningham's 1968 RainForest to the Stephen Petronio Company. Timed to coincide with Cunningham's centennial, the film tracks the dancers' often intensely personal challenges engaging with the great Cunningham work, revealing what it takes to keep a dance alive. If the Dancer Dances is written and produced by Lise Friedman and Maia Wechsler.
Compagnie CNDC-Angers/Robert Swinston
BIPED, Beach Birds
January 10, 2019
Le Théâtre, 34 Rue de la Paix
January 19, 20 & 21, 2019
Angers Nantes Opéra, Place Graslin
January 23, 2019
Le Grand R, Rue Pierre Bérégovoy
La Roche-sur-Yon, France
March 12, 2019
Le Volcan, 8 place Oscar Niemeyer
Le Havre, France
March 14, 2019
Centre Culturel Balavoine, 3 Rue Henri Puype
March 21, 2019
Le Bateau Feu, Place du Général de Gaulle
Robert Swinston, former Merce Cunningham Dance Company member, former Assistant to the Choreographer, and now Artistic Director at the CNDC in Angers, presents two quintessential Cunningham dances in their repertory, among others, during the Centennial. Beach Birds with music by John Cage is performed by 11 dancers in unforgettable costumes designed by Marsha Skinner. BIPED features motion captured choreography by Cunningham that is incorporated into the set design by Shelley Eshkar and Paul Kaiser. The music by Gavin Bryars is performed live.
University of Virginia Dance Program of the Department of Drama
Merce Cunningham Centennial Celebrations: Mondays with Merce installation
Mondays (all day), January 14 - April 29*
University of Virginia
Drama Education Building
109 Culbreth Road Charlottesville, VA
To celebrate and honor the legacy of Merce Cunningham, the University of Virginia's Dance Program will be holding weekly screenings of the series Mondays with Merce, which will be free and open to the public. Their hope is to increase awareness of Cunningham as a dance artist and his contributions to the field, while also highlighting his impact on other disciplines through his various collaborations.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
100 Years of Merce Cunningham: A Symposium of Ideas for the Next Century
Friday, January 25 from 10am - 6pm
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023
Join us as the current class of the Dance Research Fellowship at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division present their final projects, looking at the archival material of Merce Cunningham in new and unexpected ways. This day-long symposium features the culmination of work undertaken during a six-month fellowship cycle which began in July 2018.
Schedule for the day:
10:00am - 10:45am - Robert Greskovic
Merce Cunningham's Dances: Things to Remember Them By
11:00am - 11:45am - Justin Tornow
Cunningham Technique as a Practice of Freedom
12:00pm - 12:45pm - Claire Bishop
Pragmatic Expediency: A History of Cunningham's Events
2:00pm - 2:45pm - Netta Yerushalmy
Merce and Netta
3:00pm - 3:45pm - Preeti Vasudevan
Chance and Chaos
4:00pm - 4:45pm - Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung
Progressing Dance Through Collaboration
During his fellowship, Greskovic's research will focus on the visual dimensions of Cunningham's works, including scenic design and costuming; Tornow will explore contemporary applications of Cunningham technique as a fellow at the Library; Bishop will create a critical history of Merce Cunningham's Events, interrogating their relationship to museums, structure, visual art and the contemporaneous developments in music; Yerushalmy's research topic will be an offshoot from her recent Paramodernities project, seeking an intimate practice-based relationship with Cunningham choreography as a connection point to and, conversely, separation from the myth and the man; Vasudevan's study will focus on Cunningham and John Cage's trips to India, in the '60s and '80s respectively, and how these travels influenced their work and interplay between sound and movement; Bartelme and Jung will research the costumes worn by Merce Cunningham and his dancers and how his collaborators helped expand the possibilities of costuming dance.
Tickets are free, but advance registration is strongly recommended. A live feed of the symposium will also be available in the lobby area of the Library for late arrivals.
Merce Cunningham: Life and Art
February 11, 2019 at 6pm
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023
Alastair Macaulay, outgoing chief dance critic of The New York Times, returns to the Library to celebrate the centennial of one of America's most influential dance artists, Merce Cunningham. Marvel at Cunningham's innovation and expressive brilliance, as Macaulay, with signature insight and charm, unpacks a treasure trove of rarely seen Merce Cunningham performances from the Library's Dance Division.
Tickets are available here from January 11.
Colburn School Youth Dance (Modern Dance)
January 26, 2019 at 6pm
200 S. Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 6pm
Grand Arts High School Concert Hall*
at Ramon c. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts
405 N Grand Ave
w, CA 90012
Colburn Youth Dance Modern students perform Merce Cunningham's enduring master work Scramble in partnership with the Merce Cunningham Trust.
Free event. More information is available here.
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Spring Semester guest faculty
January - April, 2019
Jamie Scott, former dancer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, will be a guest faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for the spring semester of 2019 (January - April). She will teach Cunningham Technique ® and repertory to their high school and college dance majors. UNCSA is a top-ranked creative and performing arts conservatory in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Jamie Scott worked with Merce Cunningham as a member of the Repertory Understudy Group beginning in 2007 and joined the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 2009. Her tenure there included the Legacy Tour, which culminated in December 2011. In 2012 Scott joined the Trisha Brown Dance Company and toured with the group through 2016. She continues to be an active stager and teacher of both bodies of work and now perfumes with Liz Gerring. She has also worked with Daniel Gwirtzman, Kimberly Bartosik, and Bill Young. She is the Merce Cunningham Fellow 2014, 2016, and 2018 and the recipient of a 2014-2015 Princess Grace Award.
CCN - Ballet de Lorraine
Sounddance/RainForest/For Four Walls
Espace des Arts,Chalon-sur-Saône, France
February 15, 2019
Maison de la Dance, Lyon, France
April 8 & 9, 2019
For Four Walls
Opera national de Lorraine, Nancy, France
May 23, 24 & 26 2019
Opéra de Lille, Lille, France
June 13, 2019
CCN - Ballet de Lorraine will perform two Cunningham dances, RainForest (1968), Sounddance (1975), and For Four Walls, by Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley, a re-reading of the original piece Four Walls by Merce Cunningham and John Cage (1944). These three works will be presented in combination with other choreographers, on tour across Spring 2018.
The title for RainForest came from Cunningham's childhood memories of the Northwest, and the rainforest in the Olympic Peninsula. RainForest differed from Cunningham's other pieces in that, with the exception of Cunningham, each of the six dancers performed his or her role, then left the stage and never returned. Andy Warhol agreed to let Cunningham use his installation Silver Clouds-a number of Mylar pillows filled with helium, so that they floated freely in the air. The dancers wore flesh-colored leotards and tights, which Jasper Johns (uncredited) cut with a razor blade, to give the costumes a roughened appearance, in order to come closer to accommodating Warhol's request that they dance nude. The music by David Tudor evokes the chirping and chattering of birds and animals.
Cunningham created Sounddance upon his return after spending nine weeks with the Paris Opera Ballet in 1973, where he created Un Jour ou Deux. Back with his own dancers, he created a work in opposition to ballet's uniformity and unison. He choreographed a fast and vigorous "organized chaos." The stage is divided in the middle of its depth by a gracefully draped plush gold curtain, designed by artist Mark Lancaster. This division or compressing of the space adds to the overlapping and frenetic choreography, as if we were seeing a miniature dance cosmos through a microscope. The dancers enter the stage as if thrust from the curtain, and at the end of the dance, with their exit, they are swallowed by it, as though they were being sucked into a wind tunnel. Musician and composer David Tudor created a powerful and driving score or Sounddance. It provides the perfect energetic accompaniment to Cunningham's fast paced choreography.
For the centennial of Merce Cunningham, Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley have proposed For Four Walls, with the original score performed live by pianist Vanessa Wagner. The premiere will be held on the 23rd of May at the National Opera of Lorraine, Nancy (France). The original dance play, Four Walls was a creation that incorporated text and choreography by Merce Cunningham with a score for solo piano by John Cage. After its premiere, and only performance in 1944, the piece was lost and forgotten, although in the late 1970's the pianist Richard Bunger rediscovered the score among Cage's manuscripts. According to Cage his piano score, with a singular voice, acknowledged a link or prefigured the music of Philip Glass and Steve Reich - "It's full of passages that get repeated, and it's all white notes; it's in C and it goes on and on." The structure is of contrasting settings, loud and soft, high and low, etc, which has a psychological intensity quite unusual for Cage. He himself upon hearing the discovered score found it rather interesting - a genuine curiosity, and seemed surprised that he was its composer. Still within the beginnings of their collaborative work, the music and what little is known of the dance and staging precedes what we identify as a Cage/Cunningham work. What we are met with is their youth, full of introspective and conflicting emotions. This new reading of the original is interested in this notion of the pre "Cage/Cunningham", while understanding it exists in the post their legacy. For Four Walls is a wanderlust through room, the individual, and the history we share. The "room" is a mirrored space that allows for a situation to be seen as having and not having its confining walls. Defining infinity, passing through it, or as a reflective space - a somewhere to remember that we belong to these interconnected spaces and their temporalities. We see it as a non-place, perpetually vulnerable and in motion. Where distances are relativized and human differences are always in flux. We see For Four Walls not as a re-enactment of the lost original, but as a situation that will allow for its own history and our history with Merce to be reflected in.
Baryshnikov Arts Center
2018-19 Cage Cunningham Fellowship
Runs the Gamut: Exploring the Creative Legacy of Merce Cunningham*
A performance and lecture-demonstration of Cunningham technique led by Silas Riener
February 16 at 4pm
Howard Gilman Performance Space
Tei Blow + Laurel Atwell
A work-in-progress inspired by John Cage and Merce Cunningham's Ocean
March 15 at 7pm
Rudolf Nureyev Studio
Baryshnikov Arts Center
450 W 37th Street
New York, NY
Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) recently announced the 2018-19 Cage Cunningham Fellowship to support artists who embody John Cage and Merce Cunningham's commitment to artistic innovation. In conjunction with the Cunningham Centennial, the annual award has expanded through a special fundraising effort from $50,000 to $100,000 to support five artists creating and showcasing new work. They are: filmmaker Charles Atlas, multimedia artist Tei Blow, composer / musician Phyllis Chen, and choreographers / dancers Liz Gerring and Silas Riener.
The 2018-19 Fellows, who have all either previously been in residence or performed work at BAC, demonstrate the experimentation and collaboration exemplified by artistic partners John Cage and Merce Cunningham. Four of the artists-Charles Atlas, Tei Blow, Phyllis Chen, and Liz Gerring-will each receive 40 studio hours and one additional dedicated residency week culminating in a studio showing open to the public. Tei Blow will present a work-in-progress on March 15 at 7PM in the Rudolf Nureyev Studio. Other programs and dates will be announced in 2019.
Also through the 2018-19 Fellowship, Merce Cunningham Dance Company alum Silas Riener will lead Cunningham technique and choreography workshops for students at Harvard University, New York University, the Juilliard School, and the Ailey School. The students will participate in a lecture-demonstration led by Riener that is open to the public on February 16 at 4PM in the Howard Gilman Performance Space.
Very Very Fast or Very Very Slow: Dancing from the Inside Out
February 19, 2019
19th Century Club
Iowa City, IA 52245
Meg Eginton presents selections from her in-progress memoir essay about dancing and living in NYC in the late 1970s -1990s. The memoir is primarily about the inner life of a dancer, and how it grows. She will talk about her time with Merce, and project video of Exchange and other dances, including some rehearsal footage, and share what it felt like to be partnered by Merce and to rehearse with the company. Among the episodes she will share will be Merce's distinct and brief pieces of advice to her, stories of touring and growing up, getting lost and exploring new cities with Robert Kovich, and how she nearly got arrested in East Berlin on her day off. She will give the talk at 19th Century Club, the oldest women's organization in Iowa City, which presents papers of general historical and aesthetic interest to a broad audience.
25thAnniversary 92ndStreet Y Harkness Dance Festival
Celebrating the Centenary of Merce
March 1-30, 2019
92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10128
There is no better place to experience dance than 92|Y Harkness Dance Center. It's where legends like Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey and Merce Cunningham pushed boundaries and evolved the art form. Where modern day pioneers continue to create and debut dance's most exciting works. And where tomorrow's stars are incubating today. The 25thAnniversary participating artists include former Cunningham dancers Douglas Dunn, Dylan Crossman, Jonah Bokaer Choreography, and Ellen Cornfield.
Tickets/information available here. Event schedule:
A Feast of Cunningham
Danced by Melissa Toogood, Calvin Royal III, New York Theatre Ballet, New World School of the Arts
Friday, March 1 at 8pm
Saturday, March 2 at 4 and 8pm
The festival's opening weekend features dances by the master, himself. New York Theatre Ballet performs Cunningham's Septet and Cross Currents. Melissa Toogood performs Cunningham solos from Doubles,Landrover, andLoose Time. Melissa Toogood and Calvin Royal III perform duets from Scenario and Trails. Additionally, New World School of the Arts will perform a MinEventstaged by Melissa Toogood.
Douglas Dunn: Premiere (TBA)
Fri, Mar 8, 8pm; Sat, Mar 9, 4 and 8 pm
Tickets from $35
Douglas Dunn, who danced with Merce from 1969-1973, presents a world premiere with his company, Douglas Dunn + Dancers. Dunn's choreography has been likened to 'an explorer of the impossible,' and is rooted in intuition and the moving body that reveals the organic formations of movement mixed with the playful and witty.
Dylan Crossman Dans(c)e: Premiere (TBA)
Fri, Mar 15, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 16, 4 and 8 pm
Tickets from $35
Dylan Crossman, who joined Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 2009 and worked with the company through its Legacy Tour, presents a world premiere for his company, Dylan Crossman Dans(c)e. Crossman, an active and acclaimed dancer, as a compelling choreographer looks at human behavior within formalism and has been noted for his "freshness of experimentalism" (New York Times).
Jonah Bokaer Choreography / Jonah Bokaer Choreography Choreography: Premiere (TBA)
Fri, Mar 22, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 23, 4 and 8 pm
Tickets from $35
Jonah Bokaer C
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