The Merce Cunningham Trust, which oversees the experimental dancer and choreographer’s work, said today that it is organizing a centennial celebration of his birth. Starting this fall and running through April 2019, the program will include dozens of events scheduled to happen at institutions around the world. It comes hot on the heels of a Cunningham retrospective presented by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago last year.
Among the most spectacular-sounding programs is “Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event,” in which 100 dancers at four venues—the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the University of California Los Angeles’s Center for the Art of Performance, the Barbican in London, and the Opéra Comique in Paris—will perform 100 solos that Cunningham staged over the course of his career. The events will occur on April 16, 2019, when Cunningham would’ve turned 100. (He died at 90 in 2009.)
Screenings of Cunningham’s films and videos, which were prominently displayed in the Walker and MCA shows, are also being planned around the world. They’ll occur at venues such as the Anthology Film Archives in New York, the Festival Danza en la Ciudad in Bogotá, and Dance Film SF in San Francisco.
And there is even something for food aficionados as well. Cunningham’s partner, the composer John Cage, was known for his macrobiotic creations, and the celebration will also include dinners with menus inspired by Cage’s cooking.
Trevor Carlson, the producer of the centennial, said in a statement, “Merce liked saying he didn’t want to celebrate his birthday and yet he always enjoyed when we threw parties for him. My goal as Centennial Producer is to cull from the joys and knowledge gained from my past experience in producing the activities of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Archives, School and Foundation, and to use them in a rich and varied celebration that bolsters the future plans of the Trust.”