Merce Cunningham

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  • Topic: Dance, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg
  • Pages : 2 (672 words )
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  • Published : February 28, 2008
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Merce Cunningham was born on April 16th, 1919, in Centralia, Washington. At a young age, he began dancing and theater training at the Cornish School in Seattle. In 1939, he then became a soloist for Martha Graham's company. He performed his first solo concert in New York with John Cage in April of 1944. A year later, Cunningham resigned from working with the Martha Graham dance company.

Just one year later, he formed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Black Mountain College. The company was a relatively instant success, and since that time, Cunningham has choreographed more than two hundred pieces for his company. One of the most famous, was in 1973 when he choreographed "Un jour ou deux" for the ballet of the Paris Opera. He enjoyed working with John Cage so much in the previous years that he asked him to work with him again, with help from Jasper Johns with set design. He continued working with the Paris Opera, making such pieces like Points in Space. After others saw all the success in all of his choreography, he began working with the New York City Ballet, the American Ballet Theater, and the White Oak Dance Project. Once again, his work showed great accomplishment, so he choreographed pieces for The Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Rambert Dance Company, in London.

Cunningham works not only with live stage performances, but in film and video, first with in 1999, with Charles Atlas. The work was a documentary the two collaborated for, "Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance". In 2004 and 2005, they came together once again to make "Views on Camera" and "Views on Video". They made these pieces together with a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation. After working with film, Cunningham then realized he would be interested to work with computer programs as well, such as DanceForms, which, since 1991, he has used every time he choreographs. Following working with DanceForms, in 1997, he began working with Shelley Eshkar...
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