The revolutionary choreographer Merce Cunningham died on Sunday night, July 26, at the age of ninety. He performed with his company until he was seventy, and continued choreographing until three months ago, when the company performed Nearly Ninety at Brooklyn Academy of Music in honor of Merce’s ninetieth birthday. He was truly a pioneer and endless experimenter, revolutionizing how dance is created and how we view it while broadening possibilities for other artists.
There has been an outpouring of tributes and memories from fans, collaborators, and the dance community, and they will certainly continue over the next few weeks, months, and years (WNYC has posted some rare video footage of Merce throughout his career). The Cunningham Dance Foundation asks that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to The Legacy Plan to preserve Merce’s work.
This weekend, Merce Cunningham Dance Company will perform the site-specific piece Event at Rockefeller Park in Lower Manhattan, featuring a unique combination of new material and movement from past and current repertory. The 60-minute performances will feature live music performed by Stephan Moore and David Behrman, members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company Music Committee, and costumes created by wardrobe supervisor Anna Finke. This free event is co-produced by the River to River Festival’s Evening Stars series and The Joyce Theater, with performances on Saturday, August 1st at 6 PM and Sunday, August 2nd at 2 PM and 6 PM.
Merce Cunningham’s innovative spirit and choreographic ingenuity will be missed.