Merce Cunningham reached the age of 75 in 1994, an age at which many creative artists are content to rest on their laurels, or at least to leave behind whatever controversies they may have caused during their careers. No so Cunningham. In the first place, his 70s have been a time of intense creativity in which he has choreographed as many as four new works a year. Cunningham is a strongly committed as ever to the discovery of new ways of moving and of making movement, refusing to be hampered by the physical limitations that have come with age. Since 1991 every new work has been made at least in part with the use of the computer program Life Forms, which enables him to devise choreographic phrases that he himself would be unable to perform - and which challenge and develop the virtuosity of the young dancers in his company.
The essays collected in this special issue of Choreography and Dance were written over the last few years and discuss various aspects of the work of Cunningham as seen both from the outside and the inside.
Joan Acocella writes about dance and other arts for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and other magazines. She is the author of Mark Morris (1993)., Elliot Caplan is filmmaker-in-residence at the Cunningham Dance Foundation. He collaborated with Merce Cunningham on Deli Commedia, Points in Space, Changing Steps, and Beach Birds For Camera. His documentary portrait, Cage/Cunningham, was awarded the prize for Best Documentary at the 1992 IMZ Dance Screen Festival in Frankfurt. Beach Birds For Camera won the Grand Prize at the 1993 IMZ Festival, as well as the Grand Prize at the New York Dance On Camera Festival, 1993, and the Grand Prix International Video Dance, Stockholm, 1994., Marilyn Vaughan Drown has a Master of Arts Degree in Dance History from the University of California. She teaches dance at Crafton Hills College and practices Zen at the Zen Center in Los Angeles. She has published a report in Dance Research Journal and is currently working on a screenplay., William Fetterman was educated at Muhlenberg College and at New York University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1992. He has published several articles on theatre, composed performance poetry, and is the author of John Cage's Theatre Pieces: Notations and Performances (Harwood Academic Publishers)., John Holzaepfel is a pianist, pedagogue, and musicologist. He studied piano with Ellsworth Snyder, who nurtured both his interest in contemporary music and his devotion to the piano-playing of earlier times. He also studied with Todd Welbourne at the University of Wisconsin, where he took his undergraduate degree in piano. He has given recitals of music from the 18th to the 20th centuries, and has published articles on medieval and contemporary music. He received his Ph.D. in historical musicology from the City University of New York, where he wrote his dissertation on David Tudor and the Performance of American Experimental Music, 1950–1959., Gordon Mumma was a composer and per