Merce Cunningham Dance Company The Legacy Tour

Performing Arts

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Merce Cunningham Dance Company
The Legacy Tour

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 8 PM

“He has taught us something new and powerful about how to dance and how to live.”—Mikhail Baryshnikov

Universally acknowledged as one of the greatest creative forces and true artistic masters of our time, dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham stood at the forefront of the American avant-garde for nearly sixty years. He radically reinvented the possibilities of dance and developed his company as a platform for multidisciplinary artistic exploration with an array of stellar collaborators including John Cage, David Tudor, Robert Rauschenberg, Bruce Nauman, and Andy Warhol.

Shortly before Cunningham’s passing at age 90 last year, the artist and the directors of his foundation announced plans for the future of the company, his work, and his archives after his death. Central to this plan was for the company to embark on a final two-year international tour before officially disbanding, allowing audiences worldwide their last opportunity to see Cunningham’s finest works performed by the superb dancers he personally trained.

We are pleased that this Legacy Tour will have its first performance at the Wexner Center, where Cunningham and composer John Cage, his partner in life and art, were honored as recipients of the Wexner Prize in 1993. The program features a work from Cunningham’s early years and one of his more recent triumphs: Crises (1960), a dance with costumes by Robert Rauschenberg set to music from Rhythm Studies for Player Piano by Conlon Nancarrow, and Split Sides (2003), a thrilling work of chance and collaboration featuring electronic scores composed by vanguard indie bands Radiohead and Sigur Rós.

Cunningham called Crises an “adventure in togetherness.” Its spectrum of powerful turning, torquing, and twisting partnering, punctuated by unexpected contrasts and counterbalances of form, underscore the tension points in our closest relationships. The New York Times called its remounting, “most present tense and modern…it looks astonishingly fresh. You watch with your heart in your mouth.”

The equally engrossing Split Sides utilizes Cunningham and Cage’s principles of chance procedures to order its events and elements, juxtaposing this improvisational spark with dancing of clarity and exquisite precision. In a New Yorker review, dance critic Joan Acocella wrote, “I don’t think any choreographer in the world gives us a closer look at the truth. Beauty without reasons, and without anxiety over the lack of reasons: that may be what life was like before we started to make it up. Sometimes, when I look at Cunningham’s stage, I think I’m seeing the world on the seventh day, with everything new and just itself—before the snake, the tears, and the explanations.”

Join us for this special occasion to celebrate the life and work of Merce Cunningham, a major innovator in the world of dance whose bold exploratory concepts and vital spirit will continue to resonate across all the arts for years to come.

$5 tickets for teens ages 13 to 18 are available to this event through High 5 Columbus.

Groups of 10 or more are eligible for group rates. Please contact our ticket office for details.

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Presented with major support from the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Promotional support provided by 90.5-FM WCBE.

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