The iconic MERCE CUNNINGHAM DANCE COMPANY returns to the Adrienne Arsht Center as part of the final, celebratory LEGACY TOUR

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is thrilled to announce the return of the MERCE CUNNINGHAM DANCE COMPANY (MCDC) as part of the John S. and James L. Knight Masterworks Season, Sanford and Dolores Ziff Signature Dance Series to premiere a special  performance installation which will transform the stage of the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House with dancers on three different performance levels and audience members free to move about the stage — just inches from the dancers!  The MCDC Miami appearance is part of the iconic choreographer’s posthumous two-year LEGACY TOUR, honoring Cunningham’s astounding body of work and remarkable contribution to American modern dance and culture.  MCDC will present this unique performance honoring the extraordinary artistic collaboration between Cunningham, Cage, and Rauschenberg, and created especially for this Adrienne Arsht Center engagement.  MCDC’s engagement will also feature a new, site-specific installation by Cunningham’s most recent artistic collaborator, Miami/New York visual artist Daniel Arsham. All performances will include live music, featuring members of Sonic Combine, the Captiva-based trio famous for their work with Rauschenberg, and here performing with MCDC for the first time.

Coinciding with the tremendous artistic energy surrounding Miami’s Art Basel, MCDC performs at the Adrienne Arsht Center on December 2 at 7 p.m.; on December 3 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; and on December 4 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

The performance is being supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funds innovative and high-quality cultural projects that enrich and engage communities.

Tickets go on sale to Adrienne Arsht Center members on October 5 and to the general public on October 12. Tickets are $35 and may be purchased through the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (305) 949-6722      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or online at

“It is a tremendous honor for the Adrienne Arsht Center to host this dynamic, unique performance installation, honoring the monumental body of work of one of the greatest artists of our time,” said M. John Richard, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center.  “The innovation and creativity that the Merce Cunningham Dance Company has embodied for more than 60 years will come to life in great dramatic form as the full company presents a performance unparalleled in originality – inviting all of South Florida to experience the work of this creative master from a rare, intimate perspective.”

The MERCE CUNNINGHAM DANCE COMPANY (MCDC)’s debut performance at the Adrienne Arsht Center three years ago featured the company in its full glory, performing a world premiere plus several of Cunningham’s stunning, signature repertory works.  Now, the company returns as part of the historic LEGACY TOUR, defying traditional performance expectations in typical Cunningham fashion, and inviting the audience onto the stage to experience the performance in an unforgettably intimate fashion.  This special 30-minute performance installation will transform the stage with three large, multi-level sets where all 14 dancers will perform simultaneously.  Audience members will have the opportunity to move freely throughout the space, experiencing the performance from every angle and perspective.

MCDC’s special Miami performance installation will pay homage to the groundbreaking, multi-disciplinary collaboration between Cunningham, composer John Cage, and visual artist Robert Rauschenberg. Unique to this MCDC engagement, dancers will wear original Rauschenberg costumes from the Cunningham/Rauschenberg work Interscape (2000) for every performance.  In a nod to Cunningham’s most recent artistic collaboration, celebrated Miami/New York visual artist Daniel Arsham will create a special, site-specific installation in the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House for the duration of the MCDC engagement.

MCDC’s performances at the Adrienne Arsht Center will feature live musical accompaniment for every show featuring members of Sonic Combine.   Based in Captiva, FL, the trio is well-known for their work with Rauschenberg, and is now set to appear live in performance with MCDC for the very first time.

The company’s Miami engagement will also include education and outreach activities on the Adrienne Arsht Center campus and in the community where participants will have the chance to experience first-hand the historic and innovative work of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Founded in 1953, the MERCE CUNNINGHAM DANCE COMPANY has had an unparalleled impact on American culture.  A visionary, groundbreaking choreographer, Merce Cunningham worked at the forefront of the avant-garde for more than sixty years, and is widely respected as one of the most important choreographers of all time.  With his radical approach to space, time, and technology, Cunningham forged a distinctive style and vocabulary which has influenced all disciplines of performing and visual arts for more than half a century.  His collaborations with pioneering artists broke boundaries and redefined possibilities for multi-disciplinary work.  In the years surrounding 1950 at Black Mountain College, near Asheville, North Carolina, Cunningham, Cage, and Rauschenberg began a life-long artistic association, revolutionizing modern visual and performing arts, pioneering radical new techniques and approaches that represent the cutting-edge of avant-garde work to this day.

In 2009, Cunningham announced a precedent-setting plan to ensure the legacy of his work – the “Living Legacy Plan” – outlining his vision for continuing his work, transitioning his company, and preserving his oeuvre.  Following Cunningham’s passing on July 26, 2009, MCDC began preparations for a two-year world tour to celebrate his lifetime of creativity, and allow audiences a final opportunity to see Cunningham’s work performed by the company he personally trained. The tour, which launched in February 2010 and culminates with a New Year’s Eve performance in New York City in 2011, features the revival of key works from the Cunningham repertory, and will help to cement a full understanding of the choreographer’s artistic contributions and achievements.


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