Merce Cunningham Dance Company

Recorded at Jacob's Pillow: 
July 23, 2009

One of the modern dance field's greatest innovators, Merce Cunningham (1919-2009) formed his company in 1953, and was filmed during its first Pillow appearance just two years later when the program included Banjo. The company returned to the Pillow the following season with the premiere of Nocturnes, featuring a score by Erik Satie and designs by Robert Rauschenberg (who was also the company's stage manager at that time). Cunningham and his dancers participated in many subsequent Pillow seasons, culminating in 2009 when he was the recipient of the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award. Among the former Cunningham dancers now leading their own companies are Jonah Bokaer and Karole Armitage. The last time Cunningham saw his company dance was the performance seen here, streamed to his laptop just a few days before his death on the same day the company closed its final Pillow engagement.

Dance Title: Sounddance
Choreography: Merce Cunningham (1975)
Music: David Tudor
Décor and Costumes: Mark Lancaster
Soloist: Robert Swinston