Review Of "Merce Cunningham: The Modernizing Of Modern Dance" By R. Copeland

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This first critical overview of the Cunningham's long career is the result of decades of study of Cunningham and his oeuvre. Arguing that Cunningham is one of the 20th century's three most significant choreographers of theatrical dance (George Balanchine and Martha Graham being the others), Copeland (theater and dance, Oberlin College) positions Cunningham as the watershed figure in American modern dance because his work led to a rapprochement between ballet and modern dance that opened the floodgates for myriad postmodern developments. The author contextualizes the many stages of Cunningham's career as he investigates Cunningham's significant influence on spawning new choreographic structures; the ways that Cunningham's dances served as creative stimuli for choreographers, dancers, and audiences; Cunningham's chance methods and reconception of the collaborative process; and his relationship to intellectual movements and to advances in technology. Written with Copeland's characteristic wit and impressive cross-referencing, this volume--illustrated by 15 photographs spanning the great choreographer's career--will best suit those with a serious interest in Cunningham and visual and performing arts in the US. Including an extensive bibliography and index that will make it especially useful for scholars, this book promises to be as influential as What Is Dance?, which Copeland co-edited with Marshall Cohen (1983). Summing Up: Essential. All collections.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

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