My friend Deborah just alerted me to this horrible news. One of the world’s great pioneer choreographers has just died (last night; the news was released this morning). We all knew this was coming at some point; he was 90 (and still choreographing, often from his bed). But I think many thought he was one of those who’d make it to 100 or past. This on the heels of news of Pina Bausch is devastating to the dance world. So, his recent program at BAM is his last…
Cunningham’s work was groundbreaking in its use of technology, its questioning whether dance needs music (he collaborated with music pioneer John Cage and his works were often danced to silence or to sound that the dancers heard for the first time during the first performance), its questioning of what “performance” is (he would often use chance encounters), and in creating an original (and sometimes controversial) movement language.
But others, like NY Times chief critic Alastair Macaulay, knew his work much better than I (Macaulay was a great admirer of Cunningham, as was Mikhail Baryshnikov), so I’ll await his full Times obituary.
Above image taken from Great Dance.