Those eponymous companies don't survive in anything other than a diminished capacity history has shown this time and time again - and the Foundation are obviously desperate to avoid Cunningham going the way of Graham, Limon, Humphreys, Hawkins et al poorly funded, occasional companies who perform sporadically in University gyms.
As a big Limon fan, I must object to the statement above as it pertains to Limon:
1) The Limon company has survived for 63 years without ever having a hiatus due to funding problems or internal strife.
2) The Limon company has survived for 37 years since the founder's death (the first modern dance company to do so) and maintains a regular performance schedule (hardly an "occasional" company.)
3) The Limon company was never an "eponymous" company. There were two choreographers (Limon, Humphrey) and, in addition, Limon presented the work of his company members (Pauline Koner, Lucas Hoving, Ruth Currier, Louis Falco).
4) The Limon company's budget is in the $1.5-$2 million range (hardly "poorly funded".)
5) The Limon company performs in many different venues, including opera houses (not just "in University gyms.")
Simon G -- If you want to argue that Merce Cunningham is a superior artist to Jose Limon, that's fine. If you want to argue that the Limon Dance Company has abdicated responsibility for maintaining the Doris Humphrey repertory, that's fine. If you want to argue that the Limon company has had trouble commissioning lasting new works in the Limon manner, that's fine. But before you get to that point, it would be nice if you demonstrated a basic understanding of what the Limon Dance Company is or is not.
I'm sorry but I think you're being a tad over-sensitive. I'm well aware of the status of Limon and the Humphrey/Weidman inflence and artistic directorship. Though it's untrue to say that Limon never underwent internal strife, it most certainly did in his growing estrangement from Humphrey and his need for independence.
I'm also very much aware of his status and that of his company I was never impugning his legacy, brilliance or lasting influence.
However, $1.5million is a fraction of the sum that the big 4 of Cunningham, Morris, Bill T Jones and Taylor operate on - one can argue the minutaie of this but the plain fact is that that isn't a sum capable of sustaining a full company will full reepertory, an active policy of commissioning new works, allowing for failure of those new works and keep a year round performance schedule of seasons in venues worthy of a company with that kind of legacy.
The international touring of the big 4 contemporary dance companies is impossible for Limon. And I'm not rubbishing Limon or the work of the company or the dancers.
In the past six months Limon as a company performed 23 times, the majority of those performances in Universities and one-off performances apart from one season of five days at the Joyce. But it is a company that relies on a dimished repertory of a few classics from a vast repertory at its disposal in order to survive.
I'm NOT saying that Limon is lesser, and I do agree that an artist of such profound and enduring legacy and status should be better represented. But contemporary dance is so far down the pecking order of funded art forms.
What I meant by my statement is that Cunningham seem to be building an enduring legend of a living God around Cunningham while he's still alive to try and ensure that his company has the clout of say a ballet company such as NYCB, or the RB who had founder choreographers of genius who shaped the art form - and in this I think it's a good idea in terms of funding. That's what Protas did with Graham which ensured she had another 20 years of money to create with after her retirement from dancing and before her death at 91. I very much doubt Cunningham has another 20 years though.
What's obvious is that the Cunningham Foundation don't want the company to end up in the model of Limon, or operating at the level it now does. That's all I was saying nothing about Limon as a creative artist - and it's true.
Limon is a name known by few, the performances of his company carrying forward his legacy are sporadic - that has nothing to do with their worth, their importance. The Foundation however obviously doesn't want Cunningham to become Limon, indeed there was a time in the 50s when Limon was considered of far greater importance than Cunningham and was a much bigger name; that's part of the "Legend" of Cunningham, he was the underdog for decades who outlasted all his competitors and achieved a level of importance and adulation greater than any of his rivals and in order to ensure that continues after his death they're creating a Superstar.