Merce Cunningham as a Pioneer of Modern Dance Essay

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Merce Cunningham as a Pioneer of Modern Dance In the age of conformity, Merce Cunningham has resisted the temptation to remain aligned with his peers. Cunningham has pioneered a new school of thought in dance, and has set the standard for future pioneers. He is passionate about what he does and it has been evident in his works as a dancer and a choreographer. Cunningham was born on April 16, 1919, in Centralia, Washington. At the age of twelve, Cunningham became interested in dance and started informal instruction. Upon graduation from high school, Cunningham began his formal dance instruction at the Cornish School of Fine and Applied Arts. After two years at the Cornish School, he studied at Mills College and at Bennington…show more content…
a technique in which isolated movements are assigned sequence by such random methods as tossing a coin?(Britannica Online). Cunningham rejected ?the literary and psychological themes of Graham?(Encarta). In 1953, Cunningham began the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Black Mountain College. Cage became instrumental in the success and future of Cunningham?s newly started Dance Company. Cage would help out in all facets of the dance company ranging from program designer to fund raiser. Cunningham and Cage shared the same belief that dance and music can survive independently of one another. This type of thought was completely different from what Cunningham had experienced with Graham. However, in some sense all of their dancing somehow revolved around music in one way or the other. The music Cunningham used in his productions would sometimes be impossible to dance to in the conventional way. John Cage was once quoted as saying: Merce Cunningham developed his own school of dancing and choreography, the continuity of which no longer relies on linear elements, be they narrative or psychological, nor does it rely on a movement towards and away from climax. As in abstract painting, it is assumed that an element (a movement, a sound, a change of light) is in and of itself expressive; what it communicates is in large part determined by the observer himself. (Merce Biography)

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