Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today in Gay History

Happy 90th Birthday

b. April 16th 1919

Merce Cunningham


Merce Cunningham (right) looks admiringly at his longtime companion, John Cage (left). Cage died in 1992 after they'd been creative and personal partners for more than 54 years!

This from the April 10, 2009 NY Times:

“NEARLY NINETY,” a new work by the choreographer Merce Cunningham, will have its world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Thursday. The title makes sense: Mr. Cunningham turns 90 that day, and the choreography runs nearly 90 minutes.

A 2009 photograph of Merce Cunningham.

There are other Cunningham anniversaries this year. Ten years ago this July, on the stage of the New York State Theater, he was awarded the city’s highest cultural award, the Handel Medallion. To that audience he recalled, as he has on other occasions, how he arrived in New York for the first time in September 1939, by train, ready to join Martha Graham’s company as its second male dancer: “I stepped onto the sidewalk, took one look at the skyline and thought, ‘This is home.’ ”

. . . He was for many years a phenomenal dancer and has committed his whole career to virtuoso technical accomplishment. I sometimes think he was America’s Nijinsky, without the madness. Like Nijinsky he had an astounding jump, an extraordinary neck, an animal intensity, an actor’s changefulness.

For more on this GIANT of 20th and now 21st Centuries dance and the arts innovation, see qlgbtq's excellent encyclopedic tribute here.

Many knowing people hold that he is the most influential person in dance in the past 75 years!! His longevity alone commands admiration!


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