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Dance this weekend: Merce Circus

Posted on September 30, 2011

merce cunningham dc   secondhand 02 photoby anna finke

merce cunningham dc - secondhand 02 photoby anna finkeThis weekend, Dance Umbrella opens with the first of its celebrations of the choreographer Merce Cunningham, one of the great pioneers of 20th-century dance.

Following Cunningham’s death in 2009, his company embarked on a final world tour before it disbands. On Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2, they present Merce Circus at Stratford Circus, an intensive weekend of Merce-related activity. The weekend includes performances of his 1976 work Squaregame, films and even the chance to learn and dance a short Cunningham work, the 1963 Field Dances. Wear comfortable street clothes – thankfully, they don’t insist on lycra bodysuits.

This year’s Dance Umbrella also includes the company’s farewell London performances, held at the Barbican Centre from Wednesday, October 5 until Saturday 8.

Picture: Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Second Hand, one of the works danced in the farewell season at the Barbican

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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