Florida State to take part in global celebration of influential American dance artist, Merce Cunningham

Florida State University will host a series of events as part of a global celebration of the life and work of one of the greatest American dance artists, Merce Cunningham.

The events — a collaboration between the FSU School of Dance, the FSU College of Music, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Student Life Cinema and the Merce Cunningham Trust — are intended to give a broad audience the opportunity to experience the range of Cunningham’s work and process and extend his impact into the future.

Cunningham, considered the most influential choreographer of the 20th century, was an artist who crossed boundaries and disciplines. His seven-decade career was distinguished by constant innovation during which he expanded the frontiers of contemporary art, visual arts, performing arts and music.

Known for his long-time collaboration with avant-garde composer John Cage, Cunningham created 180 repertory dances and more than 700 events, in which he knit together movement phrases from past and future works into a choreographic event that could be performed anywhere.

The Cunningham Centennial Celebration performances will include:

Saturday, April 13 

“Musicircus Florida,” 6 – 8:02 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts
“Musicircus Florida,” is the Florida premiere an immersive performance experience that will feature approximately 100 collaborators: musicians, dancers, actors, poets and acrobats performing against a backdrop of visual art and film. Guests may come and go at any time during the performance. The event is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, April 16 

A Birthday Party for Merce, noon, Landis Green
A Birthday Party for Merce, the world premiere of a music theater work for eight singers and four dancers by composer Stephen Montague, performed on what would have been Merce Cunningham’s 100th birthday. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature performers from the College of Music and School of Dance.

Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event, webstream
This event, spearheaded by the Merce Cunningham Trust will be the largest Cunningham event ever staged and will take place in London, New York City and Los Angeles. Held on what would have been Cunningham’s 100th birthday, 75 dancers, along with an ensemble of musicians at the vanguard of contemporary music, will perform a distinct, 75-minute work that consists of a unique selection of 100 solos choreographed by Cunningham. A free, live webstream will be available at http://mercecunningham.org.

Wednesday, April 17 

“Interscape,” 10:30 a.m., Student Life Cinema
This free, public event will include a screening of Cunningham’s “Interscape” by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in a new version along with a live musical performance by The FSU Composers Ensemble.

Thursday, April 18 

Collaborations: MoFA Celebrates the Merce Cunningham Centennial, 6 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts
Scholars, artists and performers whose work is cross-disciplinary will participate in a roundtable discussion to talk about what it looks like to have dancers, musicians and artists collaborating in the contemporary space. The event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 20 – Saturday, April 27 

“MinEvent,” Days of Dance B, Nancy Smith Fichter Dance Theatre
FSU School of Dance students will perform a compilation of Cunningham dance works assembled and choreographed by former Merce Cunningham Dance Company member Silas Riener with a new score by composer Stephen Montague and screen projection by artist Alex Julyan. The piece will be performed as a part of Days of Dance B, which annually highlights both student and faculty work. Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20, and Friday, April 26, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Tickets for Days of Dance B are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (62+), $10 for children and non-FSU students, and $5 for FSU students. Tickets may be purchased in advance at https://tickets.fsu.edu.