Merce Cunningham, the influential American choreographer, died at age 90 yesterday. The NY Times' Alastair Macaulay writes Cunningham "was among a handful of 20th-century figures to make dance a major art and a major form of theater...Mr. Cunningham ranks with Isadora Duncan, Serge Diaghilev, Martha Graham and George Balanchine in making people rethink the essence of dance and choreography, posing a series of 'But' and 'What if?' questions over a career of nearly seven decades." And the Washington Post notes "he created a body of work that looks like none other -- plotless, spacious and often leisurely paced works, characterized by the clarity, calm and coolness of the dancing" with "an elegant and rigorous dance technique based on ballet's pulled-up stretchiness, the weightedness he absorbed from Martha Graham, with whom he danced before striking out on his own, and his own ways of twisting, folding and releasing the body." His bio on his dance company's website says besides being hailed as the "greatest living choreographer," "earlier in his career he was also one of the greatest American dancers" and "before he was a modern dancer, Merce was a hoofer." Cunningham also collaborated with his life partner, John Cage, until Cage's death in 1992.
Choreographer Merce Cunningham Dies At 90
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