Merce Cunningham Is Dead

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07/27/2009 12:36 PM |

d487/1248714821-mercecunningham.jpgMerce Cunningham, the choreographer who marshaled American dance into its modern incarnation by melding classical techniques and avant-garde influences from across the spectrum of arts, died Sunday at 90. He died in his home in New York, where he lived, worked, made friends and made art his whole life.

Cunningham continued to choreograph until the last days of life, and danced up until his 70s. So, unlike many of the dancers who were his revolutionary contemporaries and near-contemporaries, he exists on copious film and video — for this reason, as well as for his omnivorous taste for the art of his friends (most notably his lifelong partner, the composer John Cage), and their influence on each other, his legacy seems assured.