AGO Live from the Archives: 100 Years of Merce Cunningham

AGO's Walker Court full of people, a square dance floor centred under the spiral stairs, featuring a dancer in a yellow unitard

Una Ludviksen, Sara Mearns, Christian Allen and David Norsworthy in Cunningham Centennial Solos by Merce Cunningham, arranged by Dylan Crossman. Photo by Marlowe Porter


@ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Watch on Vimeo

This event premieres on Friday March 26 at 7 pm, and will be available until May 21. 

This is a free event

AGO Live from the Archives: 100 Years of Merce Cunningham

Friday, March 26, 7 pm

Celebrate the legacy of American choreographer Merce Cunningham through this exciting release of performances from our 2019 AGO Live presentation, 100 Years of Merce Cunningham. Join Ilter Ibrahimof, Fall for Dance North Artistic Director, Bojana Stancic, AGO Assistant Curator of Live Projects and Performance, and the stager of the featured works, Dylan Crossman, of The Merce Cunningham Trust, for a conversation exploring the current reverberations of the performance.

The program includes Cunningham Centennial Solos: Toronto with dancers Christian Allen, Una Ludviksen, Sara Mearns, and David Norsworthy and Changing Steps, performed by the dancers of Ryerson School of Performance, alongside accompaniment by pianist Adam Tendler.

As an extension to this program, Cunningham’s classic work from 1958 Summerspace, performed by Salt Lake City’s Ballet West, is being exclusively presented in Canada on Fall for Dance North’s website from March 26 – April 9, 2021. Visit to watch this free program.

Merce Cunningham (1919-2009) is widely considered to be one of the most important choreographers of all time. His approach to performance was groundbreaking in its ideological simplicity and physical complexity: he applied the idea that “a thing is just that thing” to choreography, embracing the notion that “if the dancer dances, everything is there.” Cunningham was born in Centralia, Washington, and attended the Cornish School in Seattle. There, he was introduced to the work of Martha Graham (he would later have a six year tenure as a soloist with her company) and met John Cage, who would become the greatest influence on his practice, his closest collaborator, and his life partner until Cage’s death in 1992. The Merce Cunningham Dance Company ran from 1948 to 2011, with Cunningham as Artistic Director until his death in 2009. Over the course of his career, Cunningham choreographed 180 dances and over 700 Events.

Fall for Dance North (FFDN) festival was founded in response to the crucial need to fortify the dance audience of the future. FFDN attracts new audiences to experience a diversity of the best established and emerging dance happening in Toronto, across Canada and around the world.

AGO Live is a dedicated series of performance events designed to reimagine the limits of what art can be within the museum. From marquee presentations to intimate moments and special commissions, the series is intentionally experimental and its formula flexible, highlighting local and international artists' creative journeys in music, dance and visual art.

Courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust as part of the Cunningham Centennial celebrations. Choreography by Merce Cunningham (c) Merce Cunningham Trust. All rights reserved.

AGO Live from the Archives: Fall for Dance North


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