Intro: Merce Cunningham

Jan 21, 2020

A black and white image of choreographer Merce Cunningham sitting against a tall iron fence, looking at the camera. He sits between composer John Cage and artist Robert Rauschenberg, who are both standing and facing each other

For this WexCast, we connected with three professors in Ohio State's Department of Dance for a uniquely informed introduction to the work of legendary choreographer (and Wexner Prize winner) Merce Cunningham, in advance of screenings of the new documentary Cunningham January 24–26. David Covey, Karen Eliot, and Daniel Roberts are all past members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Together, they discuss how Cunningham broke new ground in modern dance, how he worked with some of the 20th century's greatest artists, and what he expected from his dancers. For those who don't know much of Cunningham's work, this is a fascinating companion piece to the documentary. And if you'd like to hear more, the three professors will hold a panel discussion about Cunningham following the 4 PM screening on Saturday, January 25.

Black and white portrait of dancer-choreographer Merce Cunningham, caught mid-jump.
"If you worked with Merce, what you learn stays with you forever, and you maybe only get the import of that as you get older and you live with it for a while. I think it changed all of us as human beings, for sure."
Karen Eliot


Image of John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and Robert Rauschenberg, and performance image of Cunningham courtesy Magnolia Pictures

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