Merce Cunningham Trust

Dogwoof Boards 3-D Documentary 'Cunningham' for World Sales
October 16, 2018
Dogwoof has acquired world sales rights to 3-D documentary “Cunningham.” The U.K.-based documentary specialist will present a first-look teaser from the film about renowned American choreographer Merce Cunningham to international buyers at the upcoming American Film Market.
Takehisa Kosugi dies at 80
October 13, 2018
Takehisa Kosugi, longtime music collaborator and the last director of music for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1995-2011), died October 12 after a long battle with esophageal cancer. Kosugi began composing and performing with the Company in 1977. He well known for his early work, including for example Theatre Music, which he composed for Fluxus 1 in 1963. In 1967, Kosugi, assisted by artists Charlotte Moorman and Nam June Paik, presented Music Expanded, an evening-length concert of his work at New York’s Town Hall. His work was performed internationally at international venues and festivals such as Museum of Contemporary Art in Toyko, Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Albert Hall, The Getty Center, Lincoln Center Festival, and Biennale d'Art Contemporaine de Lyon. Kosugi received a John Cage Award for Music from Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts in 1994. Our thoughts are with his friends and family during this sad time.
Canberra Residency Ends
September 16, 2018
The two-week American Masters Dance Residency in Canberra, Australia came to a successful end with public showings at the National Gallery of Australia.
Beach Birds & BIPED review
September 15, 2018
CNDC-Angers/Robert Swinston recently premiered their program of Beach Birds and BIPED in France. Read the full article here.
Centennial Press Release
September 5, 2018
The Merce Cunningham Centennial has begun and will continue through December 2019. Check the latest Press Release for a current list of events and programming during the celebration. 
Nick Cernovich
August 31, 2018
We are saddened to hear that the Merce Cunningham Dance Company's first lighting and technical director Nick (Nicola) Cernovich passed away yesterday. Nick was with Merce Cunningham and John Cage at Black Mountain in 1952 and performed in the first "Theater Piece," often referred to as the first "Happening." In 1958, Nick designed the original production of Night Wandering in Stockholm, Sweden. He toured with the Company, overseeing their performances until the end of that decade, eventually ceding the position of lighting director (which was sometimes also filled then by Richard Nelson) to Robert Rauschenberg. 
Paul Taylor Dies at 88
August 30, 2018
We mourn the death of American modern dance choreographer, Paul Taylor, who died on August 29 and offer our condolences to our friends and colleagues at the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance company. He was a founding member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and will surely be missed by the dance community. Read full obituary
If the Dancer Dances - A Review
August 30, 2018
The film If the Dancer Dances, by director Maia Wechsler and former Cunningham dancer Lise Friedman (MCDC 1977-1984), premiered in New York City on July 24, 2018. The film will be screened in film festivals in Illinois, upstate New York, London, and Colorado. Read review.
On Cunningham Technique
May 10, 2018
Click here to read an essay about the Technique by Merce Cunningham from 1991.
David Vaughan Memorial
January 27, 2018
A memorial event for David Vaughan will take place on January 27, 2018, from 5-9pm at Judson Memorial Church New York, NY. To RSVP email
David Vaughan Obituary
November 1, 2017
Click here to read the full obituary for David Vaughan.
New Morning Classes at Gibney
September 20, 2017
Beginning on October 24, 2017, morning Cunningham Technique classes will be offered at Gibney Dance downtown at 10AM.
CBA Announces '17-'18 Fellows
May 25, 2017
The NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts recently announced their 2017 - 2018 fellows in residence. Among the group of 19 artists and scholars is art historian Claire Bishop, who is co-sponsored by the Merce Cunningham Trust.
Trisha Brown Dies at 80
March 20, 2017
The dance community mourns the loss of Trisha Brown, who died this past weekend. MCT Executive Director Ken Tabachnick shares some words. Plus a link to an article regarding her legacy by NYT Chief Dance Critic Alastair Macaulay.
Evening of Cunningham at the Joyce
March 9, 2017
CNDC-Angers/Robert Swinston will present a full evening of Cunningham work at their Joyce season from April 4 - 9, 2017. Place (1966), How to Pass, Kick, Fall, and Run (1965), and Inlets 2 (1983) will be performed each evening with a curtain chat on Wednesday, April 5. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
Summerspace at Lincoln Center
March 1, 2017
Summerspace (1958), staged by Banu Ogan (MCDC 1993 - 2000), will be performed by the Lyon Opera Ballet as part of the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance (PTAMD) season at Lincoln Center on March 19, 21, 23, and 25. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. Use discount code: LOB25.
Alastair Macaulay on Common Time
February 14, 2017
Read Alastair Macaulay's review of the Merce Cunningham: Common Time Exhibition!
Exhibition - Merce Cunningham: Common Time
January 13, 2017
Catch Merce Cunningham: Common Time at the Walker Art Center and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago opening in February 2017.
New Executive Director
November 2016
Meet the new Executive Director for the Merce Cunningham Trust.
Walkaround Time Workshop Showing
August 19, 2016
The summer workshop season ends with a Walkaround Time Fellowship Workshop led by Jennifer Goggans (MCDC 2000 - 2011) and Meg Harper (MCDC 1968 - 1977). The two-week long workshop will culminate in two studio showings performed by a select group of dancers on September 9th.
Inlets 2 Workshop Showing
August 18, 2016
Jamie Scott (MCDC 2009 - 2011) is reconstructing Inlets 2 with assistance from Jean Freebury (MCDC 1992 - 2003) as part of the Cunningham Fellowship Program. The two-week long workshop will culminate in two studio showings performed by a select group of dancers at the end of the month.
Cage Encounters: From the Merce Cunningham Sound Archive
July 12, 2016
As part of their free programs and exhibitions, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts presents Cage Encounters: From the Merce Cunningham Sound Archive.
Inventions Workshop Showing
June 1, 2016
Carol Teitelbaum (MCDC 1986 - 1993) is working with a select group of dancers in a week-long workshop reconstructing sections of Inventions (1989). There is one showing at 4:00pm at City Center Studios on Friday, June 10th. No reservations are required.
TV Rerun Workshop Showing
May 27, 2016
Melissa Toogood (MCDC 2008 - 2011) has worked with a select group of dancers in a week-long workshop reconstructing TV Rerun (1972). There is one showing at 4:30pm at City Center Studios on Friday, May 27th. No reservations are required.
Merce Cunningham Early Works at BAC

May 10, 2016

The Baryshnikov Arts Center and the Merce Cunningham Trust present "Merce Cunningham Early Works."

Cunningham 1964 World Tour Discussion
May 4, 2016
On Tuesday, May 17th at 6:30pm, Danspace Project has invited scholar Abigail Sebaly to discuss her present day retracing of the original itinerary of Merce Cunningham Dance Company's seminal 1964 world tour.
Dance Review at the Hammer Museum
April 25, 2016
Read two reviews of the performances by Silas Riener and the Los Angeles Dance Project in the Hammer Museum exhibition Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957.
Winterbranch Premieres in Lyon, France
April 8, 2016
L'Opera de Lyon will premiere a new staging of Winterbranch (1964) on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.
Fluid Canvas Workshop Showing - London
April 4, 2016
2016 Cunningham Fellows Julie Cunningham (MCDC 2004 - 2011) and Daniel Squire (MCDC 1998 - 2009) are reconstructing Fluid Canvas for young professionals and students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, and Central School of Ballet. The two-week workshop will culminate in a showing on Friday, April 8th at 7:30pm.
Studio Showing of Suite for Five (1956) and Fabrications (1987)

March 25, 2016

Andrea Weber and Patricia Lent conclude their month-long residency of reconstructing Suite for Five and Fabrications at Baryshnikov Arts Center with a studio showing at City Center Studios on March 31st.

Details and reservations...

Fabrications and Suite for Five Workshops at BAC

March 14, 2016

This month,  the Merce Cunningham Trust conducts workshops of Fabrications (1987) and Suite for Five (1957) in the Baryshnikov Art Center’s John Cage and Merce Cunningham Studio.


Studio showings of Squaregame (1976)

February 12, 2016

Ellen Cornfield and Andrea Wever's workshop of Squaregame (1976) will conclude with two studio showings on Friday, February 19 at 3:00pm and 4:30pm. The 4:30pm showing will be live-streamed online here.


L.A. Dance Project and Silas Riener at the Hammer Museum

February 3, 2016

The Hammer Museum will host in-gallery performances of Cunningham works during its exhibition of Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957.


Closing Performances at ICA Boston

January 19, 2016

The final week of the Institute of ICA Boston’s exhibition Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 will feature performances of Cunningham’s 1957 solo Changeling, performed by Silas Riener, as well as excerpts of Cunningham dances performed by students of the Boston Conservatory.


New York Times Best of 2015

December 26, 2015

The New York Times recently included Cunningham dances in its Best Dance of 2015. 

Read the article...


Mondays with Merce Film Library uploaded to You Tube

December 23, 2015

Scholar in Residence Nancy Dalva has uploaded nearly one hundred archival and contemporary films and videos showcase the range of Cunningham’s work and technique.


The John Cage and Merce Cunningham Studio

December 18, 2015

The Baryshnikov Arts Center names Studio 6A "The John Cage and Merce Cunningham Studio" and announces its first Cage Cunningham Fellow.


Dance and Chance: Just Do It
August 7, 2015
Victoria Grempel, a fourth-year dance student at The Juilliard School, describes her experience dancing in Merce Cunningham's BIPED (1999).
Read the full article here.
Composition Workshop Showing
June 26, 2015
As part of the ongoing Cunningham Fellowship Program, Neil Greenberg (MCDC 1980 - 1986) and Patricia Lent (MCDC 1984 - 1993) are conducting the first Trust workshop in composition. This two-week workshop will culminate in a studio showing on Friday at 4:00pm.
Crises (1960) at the Whitney

June 22, 2015

As part of the exhibition Anywhere in Time: A Conlon Nancarrow Festival, an archival film of Merce Cunningham's Crises (1961) will be shown at the Susan and John Hess Family Gallery and Theater at the Whitney Museum.
Doubles Studio Showing, Performance, and Live-Stream
May 14, 2015
Doubles (1984) will be the first workshop of the 2015 Spring and Summer Cunningham Workshop Season at City Center Studios. Patricia Lent (MCDC 1984 - 1993) is rehearsing with a select group of dancers for three weeks to reconstruct the complete work. This workshop will culminate in two studio showings as well as a performance at the 92nd Street Y.
When a great dancer paints
April 12, 2015
In an article from the Indian publication The Tribune, B. N. Goswamy, a leading art historian, shares his interpretations on some of Merce Cunningham's drawings and paintings after meeting with Abigail Sebaly, a Merce Cunningham Research Fellow.
Read the full article here.
MCT Announces Summer Program
May 2015 - August 2015
The Merce Cunningham Trust is happy to announce the summer workshop schedule including four Fellowship Workshops and one Special Project. Each one is either two or three weeks long and will culminate in a studio showing at City Center Studios.
Between Performance and the Present
Abi Sebaly is currently undertaking a major independent research project on the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s 1964 world tour, initially supported in part by the the Merce Cunningham Trust, the Getty Research Institute, the John Cage Research Grant from the Northwestern University Library, and the Mabel Dodge Luhan House’s writers residency in Taos, New Mexico.
Read her full essay on Aeon here.
Paul Kaiser on BIPED
In 1997 I had invited Merce Cunningham to collaborate with Shelley Eshkar and me on a project that we had already roughly conceived — a virtual dance installation called Hand-drawn Spaces. The following year, Merce returned the favor by inviting us into his process. Merce had started choreographing a new full-length dance, which he had decided to call BIPED, a name of special significance to us.
Essay by Paul Kaiser
SPSBC MinEvent
February 19, 2015
MCT Director of Licensing Patricia Lent (MCDC 1984 - 1993) and former Cunningham dancer Jamie Scott (MCDC 2009 - 2011) speak alongside SPSBC director Jennifer Howard and member Ian Palmer on the SPSBC MinEvent as well as Merce's philosophies regarding dance and music.
Performances in NYC
The Merce Cunningham Trust is delighted to announce the performance of five of Merce Cunningham's works in New York City this spring: Cross Currents (1964) by the New York Theater Ballet, EVENT by Compagnie CNDC - Angers/Robert Swinston, BIPED (1999) by the Juilliard School, RainForest (1968) by the Stephen Petronio Company, and Doubles (1984) by dancers from the MCT Fellowship Program. Don't miss out on these opportunities to see Cunningham choreography in NYC!
MCT Awards
January 5, 2015
The Merce Cunningham Trust (MCT), founded to preserve and extend the artistic legacy of the choreographer Merce Cunningham, announces major gifts to two significant arts organizations. The Trust has awarded the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA) $375,000 to establish and endow the Merce Cunningham Award, and the Baryshnikov Art Center (BAC) $250,000 to support the establishment of The John Cage and Merce Cunningham Studio, as well as the creation of a Cage Cunningham Fellowship.
Merce Cunningham and the Birds
December 2014
Poem by Lisel Mueller
Mode Records New Releases: John Cage's "Variations V"
November 2014
Mode Records new pressing of John Cage's "Variations V," filmed for German TV in 1965 with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, John Cage, David Tudor and Gordon Mumma, and visuals by Stan VanDerBeek and Nam June Paik.
John Cage's idea for Ocean was that the dance be presented in the center in a circular space with the audience surrounding the dancers and the musicians further surrounding the audience on all sides so that the sound would come from multiple directions, the 112 musicians being separated around the space. There is no conductor. John Cage had discussed the project with Andrew Culver, who had put his ideas into the computer; this led Andrew to believe that the piece could be completed, after John Cage's death in 1992.
Beijing Dance Academy
Text by Jennifer Goggans
Teacher, Staging & Studio Coordinator
Former Merce Cunningham Dance Company members Jennifer Goggans (MCDC 2000 - 2011) and Daniel Madoff (2007 - 2011), along with musician and composer Arthur Solari, spent three weeks teaching in China at the acclaimed Beijing Dance Academy during late May and June 2014.
1964 World Tour
Adapted from text by David Vaughan, Archivist Emeritus MCDC
For two or three years, Cunningham and Cage had been receiving invitations to visit India, from the Sarabhai family, and Japan, from the Sogetsu Art Center, Tokyo. Cage had known Gita Sarabhai for some twenty years; he had taught her about contemporary Western music in exchange for lessons on Indian music. The invitation from the Sogetsu Art Center came about through Toshi Ichiyanagi, whose music Cunningham had used for Story and who sometimes played for classes at the Cunningham Studio. (He was at that time married to Yoko Ono.)
Merce Cunningham: 65 Years App Now Only $4.99
November 4, 2013
The Merce Cunningham: 65 Years application has been updated and is now compatible with iOS 7 for only $4.99. Version 1.1, released on October 17, features quicker rendering, allowing for better access to over 40 dance excerpts, interviews with former company archivist, David Vaughan, over 200 photographs, and more.
For more information on the app or the update, click here.