Merce Cunningham, considered the most influential choreographer of the 20th century, was a multitalented artist. He was a dance maker, a fierce collaborator, a chance taker, a boundless innovator, a film producer, and a teacher. During his 70 years of creative practice, Cunningham’s exploration forever changed the landscape of dance, music, and contemporary art.
The Merce Cunningham Centennial is a year-long global celebration during what would have been his 100th birthday year. The celebration includes events, presentations, and discussions about Merce, dance, and his influence on culture.
Tonight’s program is part of the Merce Cunningham Centennial Community Programs. Centennial Community Programs are supported with a major grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
The Cunningham Centennial is generously supported with major funding from the Merce Cunningham Trust, the Paul L. Wattis Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the American Express Foundation and Judith Pisar. Additional funding has been provided by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Judith R and Alan H Fishman, Molly Davies, Myra Malkin, and Barbara Pine.
Heather Lemonedes, Virginia N. and Randall J. Barbato Deputy Director and Chief Curator
Cleveland Museum of Art
Six Sides of Merce Cunningham
Created and produced by the Walker Art Center
Ken Tabachnick, Executive Director, Merce Cunningham Trust
Pam Young, Executive Director, DANCECleveland
Question and Answer
Malpaso Dance Company (Cuba)
Choreography: Merce Cunningham
Music: Improvisation IV by John Cage
Dancers: Dunia Acosta, Maria Karla Araujo, Fernando Benet, Daileidys Carrazana, Beatriz Garcia, Armando Gomez, Abel Rojo, Lisbeth Saad.
Cunningham described Fielding Sixes as “a country dance in which the formal shapes open out in unexpected ways, the dancers appearing and disappearing and exchanging groups and partners in a fluid manner.” A fast tempo piece, Fielding Sixes includes numerous phrases involving leaping, rapid crossing of the stage, and sudden reversals of direction. John Cage composed the music—Improvisation IV—and Monika Fullemann designed the scenery.
Fielding Sixes premiered June 30, 1980, at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London. The original work was 28 minutes in length. The version Malpaso performs is a 12-minute extract first performed on January 9, 2019, at the Joyce Theater, New York City.
As one of just a handful of standalone, dance-only presenting organizations in the United States, DANCECleveland has a storied, six-decade-long history of curating distinguished, boundary-pushing seasons of modern and contemporary dance, and bringing nationally and internationally acclaimed professional dance companies to the stages of northeast Ohio. DANCECleveland is a presenter, collaborator, catalyst, commissioner, and champion for dance in all of its forms.
For information go to www.dancecleveland.org
About The Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art offers dynamic experiences that illuminate the power and enduring relevance of art in today’s global society. The museum builds, preserves, studies, and shares its outstanding collections of art from all periods and parts of the world, generating new scholarship and understanding while serving as a social and intellectual hub for its community.
For information go to www.clevelandart.org
See artwork by Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol on display now. Take the featured tour Merce Cunningham Collaborators in the ArtLens App (free download available for iOS9 or higher, or Android devices 5.0+). www.clevelandart.org/artlens
About The Merce Cunningham Trust
The Merce Cunningham Trust was established by Mr. Cunningham in 2000. The Trust licenses Cunningham works to leading dance companies and educational institutions worldwide, and partners with cultural institutions to mount special projects, performances, and exhibitions that celebrate Cunningham’s artistic achievements. The Trust also offers daily classes in Cunningham Technique and the Cunningham Fellowship, awarded to former Company members to reconstruct a Cunningham work during a multiweek intensive workshop.
For information go to www.mercecunningham.org