Legendary choreographer and dancer, Merce Cunningham died at the age of 90, on July 26, 2009. In early 2010, the Merce Cunningham dance company set out to perform a two-year worldwide Legacy Tour to give audiences a final chance to see Merce Cunningham’s creative genius before the company forever disbands. For those who have followed his career, and have known his influence, this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“Merce saw beauty in the ordinary, which is what made him extraordinary,” said Trevor Carlson, executive director of the Cunningham Dance Foundation. “He did not allow convention to lead him, but was a true artist, honest and forthcoming in everything he did.” In a career that spanned more than 60 years and some 150 works, Cunningham wiped out storytelling in dance. Unlike his onetime mentor, Martha Graham, he did not intend his dances to express emotion or act out a drama. Other choreographers have made plot less dances but Cunningham did his even without music. The audience got both dance and music, but the steps weren’t done to the music’s beat, and sometimes the dancers were hearing the music for the first time on stage.
In his 90’s, Merce set up the Merce Cunningham Trust, to maintain his legacy into the future. Under the plan, his dance company would have a final, two-year tour and then shut down. Its assets would be transferred to the trust, which would hold licensing rights and preserve Cunningham’s choreography in digital form for future artists, students, scholars and audiences.
To learn more about the tour, purchase tickets, or donate, contact the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
All images and excerpts: http://www.merce.org