Our nation is engaged in an epic reckoning around the history and impact of racism and inequality in the United States. We at the Merce Cunningham Trust have committed to participate in this national reckoning by undertaking critical conversations that support change and by implementing initiatives that promote progress and equity. We continue to do this as engaged citizens and as stewards of Merce Cunningham’s legacy.
The Trust acknowledges that our current institution, like our former company, is predominantly white. We have an ethical obligation to undertake deliberate, robust action to create and sustain an environment of belonging and inclusion. We welcome all voices, ages, races, gender identities and differently-abled bodies. This is a moral responsibility, and is essential to keeping Merce Cunningham’s legacy dynamic, vibrant and relevant.
Since the closure of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 2011, the Trust has sought to enliven and share Merce Cunningham’s work by overseeing international licensing projects, training and coaching dancers and stagers, conducting free workshops, conducting other subsidized public programs, partnering with educational and cultural institutions and supporting research.
As we move forward, we resolve to consistently examine our efforts, expand our programs and make our resources available to increasingly diverse audiences and practitioners. In pursuit of these goals, the Trust has launched the following initiatives:
- Accelerated implementation of its teacher preparation program to diversify the cohort of approved Cunningham Technique teachers
- Instituted a grant program offering support for artists of color making the transition from a school training program to a professional dance career
- Instituted a paid internship for an aspiring administrator in the arts/rights/archives management area
- Incentivized its licensing practice to support opportunities for dance artists of color
- Continued its program working with community partners supporting multi-disciplinary engagement and creativity of local artists