Merce Cunningham in Changeling (Richard Rutledge, 1957)

Merce 100: Vancouver

100 Years of Merce Cunningham

Please join us for a series of events organized by the SCA's Megan Walker Straight (Merce Cunningham Dance Company alumni) celebrating the centennial birthday of Merce Cunningham (April 16, 1919 – July 26, 2009). Cunningham was one of the most important and widely influential choreographers of the 20th Century, as well as a prolific, life-long collaborator across the arts, most significantly with composer John Cage. This series joins with events around the world, led by the Merce Cunningham Trust.

Image: Laia Ros

DanceForms Workshop
October 22 – 24, 2019 | FREE / RSVP
Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre
SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Led by Trevor Carlson (former Manager and Executive Director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, current Trustee of the Merce Cunningham Trust, and Director of Thorus Arts), this FREE workshop is open to all students and the public and is appropriate for participants with varying backgrounds and interests.

Please note: Space is limited to 40 participants across two sessions: Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday from 9:30 – 11:30am or 12:30 – 2:30pm.

Please email to register 

In this workshop, participants will explore DanceForms using Cunningham’s techniques and will have the opportunity to create their own dance work with fellow participants, acting as both choreographers and dancers. Previous participants have found these tools to be useful in both educational and artistic exchanges.

Cunningham used DanceForms, an animation software program developed out of the interdisciplinary work of Dr. Tom Calvert (Professor Emeritus, SIAT), as a choreographic tool in his last two decades of work. Under the supervision of Dr. Calvert and Iris Garland, who help establish the dance program at SFU, and working with Cunningham from 1990 to 2005, Thecla Schiphorst (Professor, SIAT) evolved Dr. Calvert's research into a tool for choreography as part of her master’s thesis work and beyond into other projects.

Melange (screenshot), Merce Cunningham and Charles Atlas, 2000

Merce 100: Evening Presentation
October 23, 2019 | 7pm | FREE
Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre
SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

This event features introductory remarks by Trevor Carlson, a screening of Melange (a "videodance" by Cunningham and video artist and director Charles Atlas from 2000), a new "choreographic response" to Cunningham's work by SCA dance students, and a panel discussion moderated by Kaija Pepper (Editor, Dance International) with Trevor Carlson, Thecla Schiphorst, Henry Daniel (Professor, SCA Dance), Katherine LaBelle (choreographer, dancer, teacher), and Megan Walker Straight about DanceForms and the legacy of Cunningham’s work.

If The Dancer Dances, Lise Friedman & Maia Wechsler, 2018

Film Screening
If The Dancer Dances: A film by Lise Friedman & Maia Wechsler
October 25, 2019 | 6pm | FREE
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Presented as part of DanceHouse and SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs' Speaking Of Dance programming, Lise Friedman & Maia Wechsler's If The Dancer Dances documents a recent reconstruction of Cunningham’s iconic dance, RainForest, by the renowned Stephen Petronio Dance Company. The screening will be introduced by former Merce Cunningham Dance Company member and current SCA instructor, Megan Walker Straight. This screening is courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust as part of the Cunningham Centennial celebration Community Programs, which are generously funded by a major grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.  

Cunningham, Alla Kovgan, 2019

Film Screening
Cunningham: A film by Alla Kovgan
Sat., October 5, 2019 | 11:15 AM
Sun., October 6, 2019 | 9:15 PM
Thur., October 10, 2019 | 4:45 PM
International Village 10
Vancouver International Film Festival
Tickets on sale HERE

The centenary of Merce Cunningham’s birth is celebrated in exhilarating fashion by placing viewers at the dizzying heart of the iconic choreographer’s boundary-obliterating work. Interweaving archival footage and interviews, Alla Kovgan also calls on a remarkable roster of dancers to stage classics like Summerspace and RainForest while offering new insights on choreography that redefined modern dance. Prepare to be astonished by this singular artist, whose legacy resonates beyond the dance world.

Presented as part of the 2019 Vancouver International Film Festival's Music/Art/Design Stream of screenings. For more information about the film, screening information, and to buy tickets, please visit the VIFF site.

Lobby Exhibition
September 11, 2019 – January 31, 2020 | FREE
Scotiabank Dance Centre
677 Davie Street, Vancouver

A FREE commemorative exhibition of posters and other memorabilia from Megan Walker Straight's private collection about the life and work of Merce Cunningham and his wider artistic milieu, presented in the lobby of Scotiabank Dance Centre.

October 24, 2019