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FREE Merce/Trisha talk in Philly, 3/1/08

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A press release from Dance Affiliates (at UPenn):

For Immediate Release

February 6, 2008


Anne-Marie Mulgrew Project Director, Dance Affiliates

(215) 636-9000 ext. 110 annemarie@danceaffiliates.org

Molly Petrilla Press Officer, Philadelphia Museum of Art

215-684-7864 mpetrilla@philamuseum.org

Dance Affiliates and the Philadelphia Museum of Art present Conversations, a free symposium with the Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown Dance Companies

Philadelphia, PA – Dance Affiliates and the Philadelphia Museum of Art present Conversations, an afternoon of lively discourse, performance clips and rarely-seen archival images, Saturday, March 1, 1:00 pm-to 5:00 pm, in the Van Pelt Auditorium at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th St. and the Ben Parkway. The program commences at 1:00pm (to 2:45pm) with David Vaughan, Archivist and Trevor Carlson, Executive Director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC), followed by a 3:00pm (to 5:00 pm) session with legendary postmodernist Trisha Brown, Artistic Director of the Trisha Brown Dance Company (TBDC), company members and technicians. Panelists include: Bonnie Brooks, Chair of Dance Dept., Columbia College and former Executive Director, DanceUSA, and Lois Welk, Executive Director of DanceUSA/Philadelphia.

Participants will discuss the creative collaborations of these two seminal choreographers that began with New York Blue Chip Artists (Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol) and avant-garde composer John Cage, and how their work continues to evolve by fusing contemporary dance with new technologies and new challenges. Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown have collaborated with Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage and have used motion capture technology in creating new works. Both companies have ties with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. MCDC staged Event at the Museum, and Trisha Brown (also a visual artist) has presented a program featuring her drawings.

The program is free, but reservations are required. To reserve a seat in advance, call 215-235-7469.

(A $2.50 service charge will apply for Museum members: $3 for non-members.)

Hailed as a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, Merce Cunningham has been inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance and is the recipient of numerous awards including the Nelson A. Rockefeller Award, MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, Officier of the Légion d'Honneur, France, Herald Archangel Award, Glasgow, Scotland, National Medal of Arts, Washington DC, and Porselli Prize, Italy. The UK Herald praises Merce Cunningham “as the greatest living choreographer whose creative vision is impressively undiminished." Merce Cunningham is known for his iconic and memorable approaches to dancemaking that include I-Ching chance procedures to cutting-edge technology.

In conjunction with the symposium, the MCDC will perform two Philadelphia premieres, BIPED and eyeSpace, February 28-29, 2008, on the Dance Celebration Series at Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St. Philadelphia, PA. Ticket prices are $50, $40, $30. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Annenberg Center Box Office at 215-898-3900, or by visiting www.pennpresents.org. Dance Celebration is presented by Dance Affiliates and Penn Presents. Its 26th season at the Annenberg Center under the artistic direction of Randy Swartz salutes the 20th century pioneers and innovators of contemporary dance.

Parisian art writer Alan Riding lauds Trisha Brown as “one of the grandes dames of American dance.” In 1970, Trisha Brown branched out from the experimental Judson Dance Theater to work with her own group of dancers. TBDC offered its first performances in Manhattan's SoHo district where Brown created works for alternative spaces featuring dancers signaling on rooftops spanning 12 blocks (Roof Piece 1973) and climbing on walls supported by pulleys (Man Walking Down the Side of a Building 1971). Glacial Decoy, Brown’s first (of four) collaboration(s) with the distinguished Robert Rauschenberg triggered Brown’s career on the international art scene. Today, the Company performs in the landmark opera houses of New York, Paris and London. The repertory has grown from solos (Accumulation 1971) and small group works (Set/Reset 1983) to include evening-length works and significant collaborations between Brown and major visual artists. In March of 2003, she made a rare solo appearance at Philadelphia’s Fabric Workshop and Museum, where she premiered her live work, It’s a Draw/Live Feed. The large-scale drawings that resulted from the performance are housed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Brown is the first woman choreographer to receive the coveted MacArthur Fellowship. She has been awarded two Simon Guggenheim Fellowships and the National Medal of Arts Award, as well as the French Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Arts Award. At 71 years of age, Trisha Brown announced her retirement from the stage on February 5th, to focus on other aspects of her career.

For information on Dance Affiliates programs, contact Education Director, Anne-Marie Mulgrew 215-636-9000 ext. 110 or annemarie@danceaffiliates.org. For information on the Philadelphia Museum of Art and its programs, contact Press Officer, Molly Petrilla at 215-684-7864 or mpetrilla@philamuseum.org

The engagement of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company has been made possible by the generous support of the William Penn Foundation. The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that foster rich cultural expression, strengthen children’s futures, and deepen connections to nature and community. In partnership with others, the Foundation works to advance a vital, just, and caring community. Learn more about the Foundation online at www.williampennfoundation.org.

Additional support for the symposium is provided by the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation and The Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Endowment Fund for Education.

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Thanks for posting this Ray - wish I were there!

This is where the sad part of Philly--a large-scale ignorance about Cunningham, much less Brown--becomes a happy thing: events like this are rarely sold out or even very crowded! For instance, in the past I've attended cozy, intimate talks featuring Sara Rudner and Lucinda Childs, which would have 'em hanging by the rafters in NYC. Trisha even performed here a bit ago creating a new work right in front of our eyes, and yet there was room to breathe.

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