American choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919-2009) changed the face of contemporary dance, breaking boundaries and subverting expectations across a staggering fifty year career. Capturing the iconoclastic spirit of her subject, Alla Kovgan’s biography takes an ingenious sideways approach, dodging the restrictions of the genre to offer a portrait of the man through his work and in his own words. The result is a portrait of an artist that operates as an art object on its own compelling terms.
Focusing on Merce’s creative evolution across a pivotal three decade period (1944-1972), Cunningham shows us how a struggling dancer found his voice, persevering through years of rejection from sceptical peers, to develop a visionary new technique that would reshape the world of dance. Collaborations with avant-garde artists such as John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg secured Merce’s position at the heart of a furiously creative New York scene, although these creative relationships, like those between Merce and his company dancers, were often as fiery as they were fertile.
Extracts from letters, diagrams and drawings plus candid voiceover from archive interviews, provide an insight into the personal and creative forces that shaped this fascinating process, whilst specially recreated dance sequences allow us to experience this revolution in movement first hand. Inventive 3D cinematography brings this vital cultural history to vivid, pulsing life.
Please note, screenings in the Roxy and Electra are 3D, while all Gallery screenings will be 2D.