Merce Cunningham (1919 – 2009)


It’s difficult to select a photo of Merce Cunningham. They are all so fabulous. Here’s an Annie Leibowitz portrait from 1994.

Although I reviewed the company several times, I published only two feature pieces on Merce, one in 1984 in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, and another in La Opinion in 2005.

I first studied with Merce circa 1971 when he conducted a workshop in my hometown, Pittsburgh. I was 17. Later, living in New York, I studied at Cunningham’s Westbeth studio right down the block from my Washington Street apartment.

It was with almost uncontainable pleasure that I attended countless performances of Merce Cunningham’s dance company — the head tingled for days afterward from the stimulation. At a certain point I saw the company almost every season, and in 2003, I took the TGV high-speed train from Paris to see them in Lyons. A few random memories about Merce Cunningham are included on my bio page.

I recommend Elizabeth Zimmer’s obituary of Merce Cunningham.

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