Dancing with Merce Cunningham

Product Details
University Press of Florida
Publish Date
6.0 X 0.7 X 8.9 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author
Marianne Preger-Simon danced with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in its founding years, from 1950 until 1958. She remained friends with Merce Cunningham until his death in 2009.
"In her insightful debut, former dancer Preger-Simon, a close friend and contemporary of the late choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919-2009), gives readers an unparalleled view of a modern dance genius. Preger-Simon met Cunningham in Paris during a college year abroad in 1949, and was inspired to join Cunningham's eponymous dance troupe, following him to New York City along with fellow dancers Carolyn Brown and Karen Kanner and composer John Cage, Cunningham's romantic partner. 'Many of us dancers were somewhat in love with him, ' Preger-Simon writes, 'having little comprehension of homosexuality.' While Cunningham is celebrated as a dance genius today, his early days were lean, and Preger-Simon writes of her well-off father treating Cunningham and Preger-Simon to fine meals ('It was such a pleasure to be able to give him something, in exchange for all he gave us'). Preger-Simon also reminisces about the troupe's early days, remembering such budget outings as a 22-hour bus trip to Asheville, N.C., in 1953. One of Cunningham's oft-repeated sayings to Preger-Simon was 'The only way to do it is to do it'--a philosophy by which the author has since lived her life. While Preger-Simon officially left the troupe in 1958 to have a baby, her friendship with Cunningham remained tight until his death in 2009. This slim volume is a sweet treat for dance and theater aficionados, as well as anyone interested in the arts."--Publishers Weekly "In clear snapshots [the author] fashions a collage of life in the 1950s New York art scene, written with sincere, heartfelt admiration for Cunningham and the once little-known company's journey to critical renown. . . . Preger has crafted a compelling personal narrative that may hopefully lead further discussions on Cunningham--an artist who keeps us, like Preger, continually returning to his work."--Hyperallergic "What Dancing with Merce Cunningham gives us is the generous and loving presence of its author, who understood the value of the work she was doing and the people who did it with her."--Art Fuse "Fun, easy to read, beautifully written, and very informative. With humor, passion, insight, and clarity [Preger-Simon] shares many facets of Cunningham--his work, teaching, and influence on several generations of artists."--Journal of Dance Education "An important addition to the body of writings on Cunningham, one of the most important modern choreographers and creative forces of the American avant-garde. . . . Simply a pleasure to read."--Los Angeles Review of Books