FYI | World Celebrates Merce at 100

What’s up in the dance community

Dancers and companies around the world are ready to celebrate the 100th birthday of Merce Cunningham (here in Sixteen Dances for Soloist and Company of Three).
Photo by Gerda Peterich

Merce Cunningham, the mad scientist of modern dance, would have turned 100 years old next year. To celebrate his innovative and influential body of work, more than 60 international dance companies and presenters are joining in the Merce Cunningham Centennial, a celebration that begins this September and runs through the end of 2019.

Cunningham Trust executive director Ken Tabachnick and former Merce Cunningham Dance Company executive director Trevor Carlson announced this spring that the global party will include performances, discussions, education initiatives, and film screenings, including several films found in archives across the world since Cunningham’s death in 2009 at age 90. More than 30 companies will perform his repertory dances during the celebration; many will tackle Cunningham choreography for the first time.

One of the Centennial highlights is the Night of 100 Solos, held on Cunningham’s 100th birthday, April 16, 2019. One hundred dancers will perform solos from the 1950s to 2009 at venues in New York, Paris, London, and Los Angeles. Additionally, Centennial partners including Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts and Cornish College of the Arts in Washington will offer workshops on Cunningham’s chance dance process and the DanceForms movement software he used. For details, see