Merce Cunningham (1919—2009) was a leader of the American avant-garde throughout his seventy-year career and is considered one of the most important choreographers of our time. Through much of his life, he was also one of the greatest American dancers. With an artistic career distinguished by constant innovation, Cunningham expanded the frontiers not only of dance, but also of contemporary visual and performing arts. His collaborations with artistic innovators from every creative discipline yielded an unparalleled body of American dance, music, and visual art.
The Merce Cunningham Trust was established by Cunningham in 2000 to hold and administer the rights to Cunningham's work, which today encompasses more than 150 dances and over 800 "Events" created over the course of his seventy-year career. In 2002, the Trust was recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with the mission to preserve, enhance, and maintain the integrity of the choreographic and other artistic works of Merce Cunningham, and make such works available for the benefit of the public.
Based at New York City Center as of January 2012, the Trust today offers a wide range of programs conceived to preserve and enhance Cunningham's legacy, including Cunningham Techniqueâ„¢ classes at locations throughout New York City, and the Cunningham Fellowship, which supports the restaging of Cunningham dances. The Trust also licenses Cunningham works to leading dance companies and educational institutions worldwide, supports scholarship of Cunningham and his work, and partners with cultural institutions to mount special exhibitions, performances, and projects that celebrate Cunningham's artistic achievements.
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