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The MCA strikes gold again with a new retrospective on Merce Cunningham, one of the forefront modern dance artists of our generation. Cunningham is as known for his contemporary dance choreographic innovations as well as for his collaborations with artists from different art forms such as Andy Warhol and Frank Gehry.
Born in Washington state in 1919, Cunningham followed his heart to NYC and went on to be a soloist for the Martha Graham Dance company for six years. Afterwards, spending time teaching at Black Mountain College, Cunningham became exposed to different art forms such as theater and visual arts. It was here that he came up with the idea of choreographing to include other disciplines.
Merce Cunningham Dance Company frequently collaborated with visual artists, architects, designers, and musicians; back then, it was rather pioneering! Over the course of his career, Cunningham choreographed more than 200 dances and over 800 “events,” (site specific) choreographic works. Working to disengage his pieces from being set to music; and in such, springing the music onto the dancers at rehearsal for the first time, Cunningham was able to tell a complete story. So ahead of his time, it's great to see Cunningham's work honored today when people might begin to forget who he was!