July 29th 2009

Famed choreographer dies at 90

American choreographer Merce Cunningham, known for revolutionizing modern dance, has died at the age of 90.

The Cunningham Dance Foundation released a statement Wednesday saying that the choreographer passed away from natural causes in his home on Sunday.

A top contender in the arts community for 60 years, he formed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 1953, choreographing almost 200 works for it.

He began to dance as a young child, then soon become a soloist with from 1939 to 1945 with Martha Graham, a pioneer in modern dance.

His first solo concert debuted in New York in April 1944, along with the music of his  partner and collaborator John Cage. He went on to form his own dance company in 1953, then proceeded to, along with Cage, merge music and movement in a new way.

Cunningham abandoned traditional connections between movement and music, and instead chose to interconnect the two arts only as independently; he also did away with conventional storytelling, focusing on the poetry of dance.

Cage was a pioneer of indeterminacy in his compositions; Cunningham took the same approach, changing modern dance thereafter.

For more information about Cunningham, his works, legacy, awards, and approach to modern dance, visit merce.org.

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As a musicologist, writer, personal fitness trainer and food-enthusiast, Laurie just can't decide what she likes best - so she does them all. She is also the editor of Ecoki.com, an eco-lifestyle community bringing you all things green.