Merce Cunningham  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
20th century dance

Mercier (Merce) Philip Cunningham (April 16, 1919 - July 26, 2009) was among the most influential choreographers of the 20th century, and was at the forefront of the American avant-garde for more than 50 years. Throughout much of his life, Cunningham was also considered one of the greatest American dancers. A constant collaborator who has influenced artists across disciplines—including musicians John Cage and David Tudor, artists Robert Rauschenberg and Bruce Nauman, designer Romeo Gigli, and architect Benedetta Tagliabue—Cunningham’s impact extends beyond the dance world to the arts as a whole.

As a choreographer, teacher, and leader of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Cunningham has had a profound influence on modern dance. Dancers who have trained with Cunningham and gone on to form their own companies include Paul Taylor, Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Karole Armitage, Foofwa d’Immobilité, and Jonah Bokaer.

In April 2009, Cunningham celebrated his 90th birthday with the premiere of a new work, Nearly Ninety, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. Also in 2009, the Cunningham Dance Foundation announced the Legacy Plan, a precedent-setting plan for the continuation of Cunningham’s work and the celebration and preservation of his artistic legacy.

Cunningham has earned some of the highest honors bestowed in the arts, including the National Medal of Arts and the MacArthur Fellowship. He also received Japan’s Praemium Imperiale, the British Laurence Olivier Award, and was named Officier of the Legion d’Honneur in France.

Cunningham’s life and artistic vision have been the subject of numerous books, films, and exhibitions, and his works have been presented by groups including the Ballet of the Paris Opéra, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, White Oak Dance Project, and London’s Rambert Dance Company.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Merce Cunningham" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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