DANCE: Hommage to Merce Cunningham

 In Events

When Merce Cunningham died at the end of July this year, aged 90, the Théâtre de la Ville was already preparing a tribute to the iconoclastic choreographer, as part of the
Festival d’Automne. The homage has turned into an adieu and provides testament to Cunningham’s enduring importance in the world of contemporary dance. The 2-week program opens with Nearly 902, the final piece the wheelchair-bound choreographer finished, just before his last birthday, using motion-simulation software to demonstrate his vision to his dancers. The following two pieces are responses to Cunningham’s legacy by younger choreographers: 50 ans de danse (Tue 8-Sat 12 Dec) has its starting point in a book of photographs of Cunningham’s work in performance, which Boris Charmatz recreates in dynamic form; while Cédric Andrieux (Thu 14-Sat 16 Dec) is a solo for the eponymous dancer by Jérôme Bel, reviewing Andrieux’s career and notably his eight years with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York. A useful companion to the performances is the biopic Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance, directed by former MCDC filmaker-in-residence Charles Atlas and screening, for free, in the Théâtre de la Ville’s basement (Tue 8-Thu 10 Dec). Atlas will also be at the Cinémathèque Française on Sun 13 Dec to introduce screenings of five of the ‘video dances’ he created in collaboration with Cunningham. Théâtre de la Ville also presents a free exhibition in its lobby of performance stills and posters (and those attending the screenings downstairs will also spot a collection of memorabilia related to Pina Bausch, another of modern dance’s recent losses). JP

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