First announced in fall 2011, the Cunningham Fellowship is a program designed to further the Merce Cunningham Trust’s mission of teaching, reviving and staging Cunningham’s works, and making them available to the public for performance and study. The Fellows will stage Cunningham works of their choice during a multi-week intensive workshop with pre-professional students. Fellowship workshops are free to participants, who are selected by audition.
In addition to the staging workshops, the Fellows will also engage in scholarship related to Merce Cunningham and Merce Cunningham Dance Company history, teaching for beginners and non-dance professionals, and the fundamental structures and vocabulary of Cunningham Technique®. Each Fellow will receive a $5,000 stipend, access to studio space and archival materials preserved in digital Dance Capsules, and assistance from the Trust.
The Cunningham Fellowship expands employment opportunities for former dancers, facilitates presentations of Cunningham’s works in the U.S. and abroad, and offers the dance community free workshops to supplement the study of Cunningham Technique®. As part of an ongoing effort to assist with career transition for former Merce Cunningham Dance Company members and offer them opportunities to further engage with and teach Cunningham choreography, the initial group of Fellows was limited to former MCDC dancers.
Fellowship Applications have a rolling deadline. 2014 Fellowships Applications available.
Special Projects - In addition to Fellowships the Trust welcomes ideas that faciliates the dissemination of Merce Cunningham's work. Projects may be submitted to the Trust for review on an ongoing basis.
The 2013 Merce Cunningham Fellowship Workshops:
Rebus (1975), led by Melissa Toogood (MCDC 2008 - 2011)
April 2 - 12, 2013
CNDC - Centre National de Danse Contemporaine (CNDC)
Melissa Toogood worked with CNDC Artistic Director Robert Swinston and 20 dancers to reconstruct Rebus (1975). Prior to going to Angers, Melissa also worked with original cast member Meg Harper (MCDC 1968 - 1977).
Story (1963), led by Daniel Squire (MCDC 1998 - 2009)
May 13 - 24, 2013
Daniel Squire began looking at Story when curating the dance portion of Dancing Around the Bride at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This sparked his interest in reviving the entire piece. Daniel worked with 12 - 15 dancers, two casts, as a means to explore the variability of Story thoroughly.
Native Green (1985), led by Megan Walker Straight (MCDC 1980 - 1986)
July 8 - 26, 2013
Megan Walker Straight was in the original cast of Native Green. She was intrigued and challenged by the choreographic taming of huge movement flow with an odd and precise boundary of phrase and the perplexing balance demanded between freedom and limitation. For the workshop, she plans on working with 12 dancers.
Pictures (1984), led by Lisa Boudreau (MCDC 1994 - 2008)
October 7 - 18, 2013
During her time in the company, Lisa Boudreau performed in the revival of Pictures and was struck by how stillness and silence affected the timing, dynamic, and quality of the dance. The contrast between the movements in Pictures and the structured "tableaux vivants" illuminates the effects of stillness. Lisa wants to challenge 12 - 14 energetic dancers to inhabit stillness and witness its long-term effects on the body.
Sounddance (1975), led by
Thomas Caley (MCDC 1993 - 2000) and Meg Harper (MCDC 1968 - 1977)
November 20 - 27, 2013
This reconstruction of Sounddance is in preparation for the work Thomas Caley and Meg Harper will be doing with the Ballet de Lorraine in Nancy, France. Thomas and Meg will be using the workshop to complete and unify their research and study of Sounddance as well as to further coordinate how they work together as a team. Meg, who was in the original cast, restaged the piece on the Company in 1994, which was Thomas's first encounter with the piece. He was immediately taken by Sounddance with its raw energy and collective cosmos and is very excited to once again work with Meg and this fantastic work. They will work with a group of 10 dancers.
Variations V (1965), led by Sandra Neels (MCDC 1963 - 1973)
June 17 - July 5, 2013
Sandra Neels, who originated a role in Cunningham's Variations V (1965), staged this work for seven dancers. The workshop took place from June 17 - July 5 at City Center, the home of the Merce Cunningham Trust.
The 2012 Merce Cunningham Fellowship Workshops
Place (1966), led by Sandra Neels (MCDC 1963 – 1973)
May 25 - June 8, 2012
Sandra Neels, who originated a role in Cunningham’s Place (1966), staged this work for eight dancers. The workshop took place from May 25 – June 8 at City Center, the home of the Merce Cunningham Trust.
How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run (1965), led by Rashaun Mitchell (MCDC 2004 – 2011)
June 11 - 22, 2012
Rashaun Mitchell, who participated in the 2004 revival of How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run (1965), restaged the dance during a workshop from June 11–June 22. During the workshop, eight dancers will learn this iconic piece, which incorporates chance procedures to determine the order of the spoken text by John Cage.
Scramble (1967), led by Susana Hayman Chaffey (MCDC 1968 – 1976)
June 25 - July 6, 2012
Susana Hayman Chaffey performed Scramble (1967) as a member of MCDC and restaged this piece during a workshop from June 25–July 6.
Inlets 2 (1983) and Fielding Sixes (1980), led by Susan Quinn (MCDC 1981 – 1987)
August 13 - 31, 2012
Susan Quinn, who appeared in the first performance of Inlets 2 (1983), has returned to this work as well as Fielding Sixes (1980) in a workshop from August 13–August 31, in which she worked with seven dancers to restage the works.
Pond Way (1998), led by Andrea Weber (MCDC 2004 - 2011)
November 6 - 20, 2012
Andrea Weber, who appeared in the MCDC Legacy Tour revival of Pond Way (1998), restaged the work in a 3-week workshop from November 6 - 20, 2012.
All workshops are held at New York CIty Center unless noted otherwise. Workshops are by audition only.