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Alexandra

Merce Cunningham on PBS!

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Got this press release from public television today:

It's Merce's time to be honored by AMERICAN MASTERS:

Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance will have its premiere on Sunday, December 16, 2001 at 9:00 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).

The film is directed by Charles Atlas and features a nearly a dozen excerpts from the

repertory, including footage from Merce's own collection of his early (and rarely seen) works. Naturally, there are lots of interviews - with the

expected colleagues, like Mikhail Baryshnikov, David Vaughan, Carolyn Brown, Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage - as well as with Merce's long-time

friends from back home in Centralia, Washington and from his many early supporters in Europe.

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I haven't screened this but I'd strongly recommend it, especially for those who haven't had the opportunity to see much Cunningham. Like him or loathe him, he is of monumental importance to dance -- and ballet -- in the past 50 years. Like Balanchine, his breath is on everything. He's a delightful person, too -- rather elfin, not what I expected, which made him all the more delightful.

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From the reputation Cunningham has of almost forbidding intellectualism, one is never really prepared for how disarming he is in person. He's a great raconteur, and somewhere not that far below the surface lives a born showman.

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I have been watching all the American Masters programs. They have all been EXCELLENT. I'm sure this one will be no exception. And I'm glad they are doing more choreographers.

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This sounds like the video I rented a couple of months ago. It's pure delight, with all sorts of footage not in "Cage/Cunningham."

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