'Merce in Miami' Festival Opens at Carnival Center

Classic Arts News   'Merce in Miami' Festival Opens at Carnival Center
"Merce in Miami," a city-wide arts festival celebrating the legendary choreographer's work and featuring the local debut of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, gets underway this evening at the Carnival Center with a world premiere.

The festival, which runs through March 4, includes music events featuring the work of Cunningham's collaborators; a live performance by the famed Icelandic ambient rock band Sigur R‹s; a rare public interview with the 86-year-old Cunningham; workshops, lectures, and other collaborations with local arts institutions.

The festival will feature performances of five dances by Cunningham, including tonight's world premiere of his newest work, eyeSpace, a Carnival Center commission. Cunningham's choreography will be accompanied by designs by Miami visual artist Daniel Arsham and music by David Behrman.

Three other major Cunningham works to be performed on the stage of the center's Ziff Ballet Opera House include the U.S. premiere of the revival of CRWDSPCR(1993); Crises (1960) and Split Sides (2003), which will feature a live performance by Sigur R‹s and recorded music by Radiohead.

Also on the lineup is Cunningham's mammoth Ocean, which will be staged in the Knight Concert Hall. Fourteen dancers will perform as the audience sits around and above the dancers in a raked, circular stadium configuration, while 112 musicians surround the audience.

Dance students of the New World School of the Arts will perform a series of free public performances in Carnival Center's lobbies, including two world premieres of site-specific works: an original dance created by Cunningham for the Ryder Systems Inc. Lobby in the Knight Concert Hall, and One Hand Clapping, created by New World School and University of Florida faculty for the Adams Foundation Lobby in the Ziff Ballet Opera House.

While Cunningham's dances are performed throughout the complex, Gustavo Matamoros's 19th edition of the Subtropics Experimental Music and Sound Festival will present music by Cunningham collaborators including John Cage, Conlon Nancarrow and Morton Feldman. One highlight is the performance of an oral history of Cunningham's artistic and life partner John Cage, which was created in collaboration with Laura Kuhn, director of the John Cage Trust, and will feature stories and anecdotes gathered during the festival.

The celebration will also include workshops, master classes and activities on campus and in the community.

In conjunction with "Merce in Miami," Carnival Center's festival partner Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) will organize and present a two-part exhibition focusing on Cunningham's collaborations with visual artists. Part 1, which opened on January 25, features the sets and costumes created for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company by visual artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Ernesto Neto, Charles Long, Christian Marclay, and Olafur Eliasson. Part 2, opening on June 25, will feature drawings, set and costumes created by 25-year-old Miami artist Daniel Arsham for the performance of eyeSpace that will have premiered in February.

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