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Monday, April 8, 2019

In Context: Night of 100 Solos

Over the span of his 70-year career, choreographer Merce Cunningham developed a repertoire of nuanced movement and effortless precision. Known for his experimentalism and dexterous use of both chance and control, he left behind a substantial oeuvre when he died in 2009. The Merce Cunningham Centennial commemorates what would be the 100th birthday of the esteemed choreographer in this one-night Event, staged concurrently at BAM, the Barbican in London, and UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance. With live music and special set design, 25 dancers on each stage perform 100 solos drawn from more than seven decades of Cunningham’s work. The selections range in length from 30 seconds to four minutes, and include more than a dozen of his own solos.

Reflecting Cunningham’s embrace of technology and the Merce Cunningham Trust’s commitment to accessibility, Night of 100 Solos will be streamed live online and available for the next few months at

Program Notes

Featured Collection: Merce Cunningham at BAM (Leon Levy BAM Digital Archive)
Dive into our Archives for a complete view of the legendary choreographer’s history at BAM: from dancing with Martha Graham and Dance Company in 1945 to The Legacy Tour in 2011, three years after his passing.

Dressing the 81 Dancers in Night Of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event (BAM Blog)
We spoke with Night of 100 Solos dancer Reid Bartelme, who is also one half of the design team responsible for the dancers’ costumes, on how he and Harriet Jung approached costuming such a monumental work.

Four Events That Have Led to Large Discoveries (Merce Cunningham Trust)
Merce Cunningham Trust remains a valuable resource for dancers and aficionados looking to access to his work. It even includes his own writing, which provides precious insight into his journey as a dancer/choreographer.

Making Dances in the Shadow of Merce Cunningham (The New York Times)
Four dancers reflect on what it was like to dance with Merce, his impact, and how they might differentiate their individual styles from the late choreographer’s.

Watch & Listen

Merce Cunningham Trust (Various)
Get lost within this treasure trove of videos that feature performances, workshops detailing the Merce Cunningham technique, and documentaries including If the Dancer Dances (which screens at BAM April 15).

Mondays With Merce #1: Technique (YouTube)
What was it like to learn from Merce Cunningham? Sit in at a rehearsal with Merce Cunningham Dance Company in the first installment of a series.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company at BAM: Split Sides (Silas Riener solo) (YouTube)
Watch another memorable solo performed at the Howard Gilman House, this one from Merce Cunningham: The Legacy Tour, part of the 2011 Next Wave Festival.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #100Solos.

© 2019 Brooklyn Academy of Music, Inc. All rights reserved.


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