Today Energetiks is dedicating to Merce Cunningham, a dancer, choreographer and artist of exceptional vision, whose unique, innovative and ground-breaking approach altered the dance world in a way that permanently broadened and expanded the possibilities not only of dancers and choreographers, but for contemporary visual and performance art as a whole.
On the 16th of April 1919, Mercier “Merce” Philip Cunningham was born in Centralia, Washington. In 1937 he first began dancing at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle until 1939 at the age of 20. During his time there, Merce was spotted by Martha Graham and she invited him to dance in her company. He moved to New York where he danced for the following six years as a soloist in the company of Martha Graham.
Merce collaborated with John Cage to present his first solo concert in New York in April 1944. John Cage became his life partner and the pair collaborated many times. In 1953, he formed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. In his career, Merce choreographed over 200 dances and over 800 events. He was considered the forefront of American avant-garde for over 50 years. Merce was known for pushing boundaries by collaborating with other artists to create unique and expressive work which contributed to the creation of modern dance.
Merce continued as Artistic Director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company until his peaceful death at his New York home on July 26th, 2009 at the age of 90.
The Legacy Plan
The Cunningham Dance Foundation announced the Legacy Plan in June 2009. This Legacy Plan was the first of its kind in the dance work. It provided a plan for the future of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as envisioned by Merce himself.
The plan aimed to preserve Merce’s legacy while allowing his pieces to be studied, performed and enjoyed by future generations. This was also to ensure the authenticity of the presentation of his oeuvre once Merce was no longer able to lead his Company.
Merce’s wish was that the Company completed a worldwide legacy tour before it closed. The Pan outlined the details of this final international tour for the Company and so, on the 31st of December, 2011, the final performance of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company was held and marked their closure.
Merce Cunningham Dance Company at BAM: BIPED
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MERCE!! :)
An interview with Merce Cunningham