Merce Cunningham Dance Company Legacy Tour
ONLY A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE truly merit a “legacy tour.” (In Michael Jackson’s case, he comes back from the dead for an “Immortal Tour”—see Theater.) But late choreographer Merce Cunningham, the Centralia native and Cornish alum who revolutionized American modern dance, is more than deserving of this two-year send-off. Ever since his professional dance debut in 1939 under fellow Washingtonian Martha Graham, Cunningham has been bold with his craft. He embodied the avant-garde, abandoning narrative to focus on movement set to a wild score of ambient sound composed by his stage and life partner, John Cage. A Washington techie to the core, he even used motion-capture technology to create a backdrop for Biped in 1999. He continued to choreograph well into his 80s despite being confined to a wheelchair.
Always thinking ahead, Cunningham put a Legacy Plan into action in July 2009—one year prior to his death—that sent his dance company on a world tour of some of his finest work over the past 40 years. They slink among helium-filled silver balloons designed by Andy Warhol for RainForest (1968) and bring calm to urban chaos with a famed pas de deux in Xover (2007). There are two different programs over two nights at the Paramount: Xover, Quartet, and Biped on October 27, and RainForest, Duets, and Split Sides on October 29. Then, on New Year’s Eve, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company will disband after one final performance in New York, padding softly away with their severance packages and wistful memories of their guru. Oct 27 & 29, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 877-784-4849; stgpresents.org