Best Long Goodbye to an Irreplaceable Force in (Not Just) Dance (2011)

Merce Cunningham

We knew it was coming. And when the decision was made, years ago, it seemed reasonable, even noble and wise. But then came the death and the countdown began, and now it's nearly over, and we're having second thoughts. Before Merce Cunningham died at age 90 in 2009, he decreed that the company he founded in 1953 would last only two years longer than he did. So on New Year's Eve 2012, one of the greatest artistic institutions of our city will close up shop. Already, the international Legacy Tour has brought illuminating revivals to the Joyce, and the day-long Merce Fair at Lincoln Center in July was more than anyone could take in. But the best stuff is crammed against the deadline: three unmissable programs at BAM in early December, then the final shows in the Park Avenue Armory. The current company members are dancing with urgency, growing even now. No one really knows what will happen to the work, or to the dancers, after. The only certainty is the end.


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