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 Post subject: Merce Cunningham news
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:43 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 6883
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
I wanted to alert you to the article posted today on The New York Times website
detailing Merce Cunningham's plans for the future of his company. Mr. Cunningham is
this year's recipient of the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award, to be presented in person
at the 2009 Jacob's Pillow Season Opening Gala on June 20th, and Merce Cunningham
Dance Company will perform during the Festival July 22-26. You will find a release
regarding the award and the company's engagement below. Please let me know if you
have any questions or need to interview a Pillow representative.

"Merce Cunningham
, the nonagenarian choreographer, is planning for a world without him. He has
decided that when he dies, or when the right time comes, the Merce Cunningham Dance
Company will embark on a final two-year international tour and then shut down, the
Cunningham Dance Foundation, which supports the company, announced on Tuesday." ... l?ref=arts


Mariclare Hulbert, Communications Manager

413.243.9919 x29


Jodi Krizer, NYC-Based Press Contact





June 9, 2009, 2009 (Becket, MA) - Jacob's Pillow announces today that Executive
Director Ella Baff will soon present the third annual Jacob's Pillow Dance Award to
Merce Cunningham, considered by many to be the world's greatest living
choreographer. The Jacob's Pillow Dance Award honors outstanding visionary artists
and carries a cash prize of $25,000, to be used by the choreographer to enhance
their artistry in any way they choose. The official in-person presentation of the
Award will take place at the Jacob's Pillow Season Opening Gala on Saturday, June

"Merce Cunningham is a brilliant thinker, dancemaker, and extraordinary person
altogether. He has changed the way we see and understand dance and music," comments
Ella Baff. "We are proud to honor his contributions to our field and his
long-standing relationship with the Pillow, which dates back to 1955. It is with
great respect and admiration that we present him with the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award
in his 90th birthday year."

In 2007, Jacob's Pillow received an ongoing, annual anonymous gift of $50,000, of
which $25,000 supports Jacob's Pillow commissions, presentations, and artist
development initiatives, such as the organization's Creative Development Residency
program. The remaining $25,000 is given annually as a cash gift to the recipient of
the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award. Each year a different innovative artist is selected
by Jacob's Pillow to receive this honor. In addition to the cash gift, awardees are
often invited to perform at the Pillow, given a commission, or invited to create new
work during a Creative Development Residency at the Pillow. Along with this moral
and material support, the honoree receives a custom-designed glass sculpture by
Berkshire-based artist Tom Patti, whose work is in the collections of the
Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York among other
prominent collections worldwide. In 2007, the inaugural Award was given to Annie-B
Parson and Paul Lazar, co-directors of Big Dance Theater, who will return in 2009 to
direct the Choreographers Lab at The School at Jacob's Pillow. Last year, Alonzo
King, Artistic Director of Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, was honored.

The Jacob's Pillow Dance Award is presented in person during the Pillow's season
opening Gala performance, which this year includes Festival artist Jason Samuels
Smith, formerly of Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk; a world premiere
choreographed by Viktor Plotnikov for the 22 emerging professional dancers of the
Ballet Program at The School at Jacob's Pillow; Andrea Miller's Gallim Dance in
excerpts from I Can See Myself in Your Pupil; and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet,
who will unveil the world premiere of choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Orbo Novo
in July during the Festival.

Recently recognized by Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times as the world's
"greatest living artist," Merce Cunningham has altered the landscape of contemporary
dance. With a career distinguished by innovation and collaboration, he has expanded
the frontiers of dance, as well as the contemporary visual and performing arts. An
active choreographer and mentor to the dance world at the age of 90, Cunningham has
earned some of the highest honors bestowed in the arts. Among his awards are the
National Medal of Arts (1990) and the MacArthur Fellowship (1985). Cunningham's
life and artistic vision have been the subject of four books and three major
exhibitions, and his works have been presented by the Paris Opéra Ballet, New York
City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, White Oak Dance Project, and London's Rambert
Dance Company.

The Merce Cunningham Dance Company made its first Pillow appearance in 1955, just
two years after the company was founded. The following season, the company returned
for six performances, in a year when Cunningham's entire schedule encompassed a
total of eleven performances. The Pillow commissioned a new work from Cunningham
for that engagement, and the company has since returned to the Pillow seven times.
This year, Merce Cunningham Dance Company performs a retrospective of Cunningham's
work, including CRWDSPCR (1993), Sounddance (1975), and eyeSpace (2006), an
innovative work in which the audience creates its own soundtrack using iPod
shuffles. Merce Cunningham Dance Company will perform in the Ted Shawn Theatre, July
22-26. The Pillow is also mounting a special commemorative exhibit entitled The Art
of Merce Cunningham, and will present two Cunningham-related PillowTalks on July 23
and July 26. For information regarding the Gala or the company's Pillow engagement,
visit <> .

The Jacob's Pillow Dance Award further emphasizes the Pillow's commitment to support
choreographers at various stages of their careers, and the creation of new work
through the Pillow's Creative Development Residency Program. During these
residencies, artists are invited to spend one to three weeks at the Pillow creating
or rehearsing new work, with free housing for the company, unlimited use of studio
space, and access to the Archives and other Pillow resources. In the beautiful,
retreat-like atmosphere of the Pillow, the residencies are rare opportunities for
artists to focus on the creative process without distraction.

Notable artists who have created or premiered dances at the Pillow include
choreographers Antony Tudor, Agnes de Mille, Glen Tetley, Alvin Ailey, Donald
McKayle, David Parsons, Kevin McKenzie, Twyla Tharp, Ralph Lemon, Susan Marshall,
Trisha Brown, Ronald K. Brown, Trey McIntyre, and Bill T. Jones; premiered by such
artists as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carmen de Lavallade, Mark Morris, Dame Margot
Fonteyn, Edward Villella, Rasta Thomas, and hundreds of others.

About Jacob's Pillow: Founded by dance legend Ted Shawn in 1933, Jacob's Pillow
celebrates its 77th season in 2009. The Pillow is home to a world-renowned
international dance Festival that presents dance annually on three performance
stages for nearly three months. The Pillow also supports artists to create new work
through commissions and Creative Development Residencies. The School at Jacob's
Pillow encompasses a professional advancement program for dancers and choreographers
as well as an Intern Program that trains young professionals in all areas of
production and arts administration. Alumni of The School have gone on to perform
with prestigious dance companies, in film, television, and on Broadway, and former
interns have been employed at arts organizations including Alvin Ailey American
Dance Theatre, British Council, and Mark Morris Dance Group. The Pillow's rare and
extensive Archives, open year-round to the public free of charge, chronicles the art
form of dance in film, video, photographs, oral histories, correspondence, books,
costumes, posters, audiotapes, and scrapbooks. Jacob's Pillow's year-round
Community Programs enrich the lives of children and adults, and are yet another part
of the Pillow's cultural legacy. Jacob's Pillow is the first and only dance entity
in the United States to be declared a National Historic Landmark for the
significance of its contribution to America's culture-past and present. The
Pillow's 163-acre site was originally a family farm in the late 1700s. In the
1800s, the Pillow was known as a station on the Underground Railroad and in 2007, it
was dedicated as a site on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage
Trail. For additional in-depth information regarding the history of Jacob's Pillow,
consult Members of the press are encouraged to contact
Mariclare Hulbert at 413.243.9919 ext. 29 or via email at

Support for Jacob's Pillow Dance comes, in part, from the Massachusetts Cultural
Council, a state agency.

As of March 2009, major support for Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival has been provided
by: Asian Cultural Council; The Barrington Foundation, Inc.; The Gladys Krieble
Delmas Foundation; Frances Alexander Family Fund; The Howard Gilman Foundation; The
Florence Gould Foundation; The Harkness Foundation for Dance; The William and Flora
Hewlett Foundation; The Leir Charitable Foundations, In Memory of Henry J. Leir; The
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; National Foundation for
Advancement in the Arts; Evelyn Stefansson Nef Foundation; New England Foundation
for the Arts; The New York Community Trust-Wallace Special Projects Fund; "Leading
for the Future Initiative," a program of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, funded by the
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; The William J. and Dorothy K. O'Neill Foundation;
Bessie Pappas Charitable Foundation; The Prospect Hill Foundation; Neal Rantoul
Foundation; Arch W. Shaw Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Massachusetts
Cultural Council, a state agency; MassDevelopment; Massachusetts Office of Travel
and Tourism; National Endowment for the Arts; United States Department of Education;
ALEX®; Ameriprise Financial; Big Y World Class Market; Capezio/Ballet Makers Dance
Foundation; The Legacy Banks Foundation; Pilgrim Inn; Quality Inn; Rodeway Inn;
Super 8 Motel Lee; WGBY, Public Television for Western New England; The Pillow
Business Alliance; and Jacob's Pillow Members.

Major endowment support is provided by The Barrington Foundation; The William
Randolph Hearst Foundation; The Leir Charitable Foundations, In Memory of Henry J.
Leir; Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; The Andrew W. Mellon
Foundation; Onota Foundation; The Prospect Hill Foundation; and the Talented
Students in the Arts Initiative, a collaboration of the Doris Duke Charitable
Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.




From: Katryn Geane
Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 4:17 PM
To: Mariclare Hulbert
Subject: merce mention

I wanted to alert you to the article posted later today to the New York Times
website that details what Merce Cunningham has decided in regards to his legacy and
company after his passing. Mr. Cunningham is this year's recipient of the Jacob's
Pillow Dance Award, to be presented in person at the 2009 Season Opening Gala on
June 20th, and Merce Cunningham Dance Company will perform during the Pillow's 2009
Festival July 22-26.

Katryn Geane

Jacob's Pillow Dance

Festival - School - Archives - Community Programs

358 George Carter Rd, Becket, MA 01223

P: 413.243.9919 // F: 413.243.4744

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