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June 26, 2009

TT: How dances disappear

Merce Cunningham, who turned ninety this year, has announced that his world-famous dance company will be disbanded after he dies. That's a big story, bigger than you might think if you don't follow dance closely. Most choreographers, after all, do their best to ensure that their companies will outlive them. Why has Cunningham decided otherwise? Because he thinks his dances have a better chance of surviving over the long haul if his associates concentrate on making them available to other companies instead of keeping his own troupe going.

This decision is the subject of my "Sightings" column for Saturday's Wall Street Journal, in which I talk about the inherent fragility of dance--and what choreographers can do to circumvent it. To see what I have to say, pick up a copy of tomorrow's Journal.

UPDATE: Read the whole thing here.

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An excerpt from Cunningham's "Beach Birds for Camera," danced by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company:

Posted June 26, 2009 12:00 AM

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