Encounter: Merce, which runs February 15-March 12, will involve 16 of the university's departments, including medicine, humanities (including natural and social sciences), visual arts, and the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. The program includes performances, panel discussions, art exhibitions, screenings, classes, and seminars.
Many of the events are open to the public; some are available only to Stanford students.
The 85-year-old Cunningham will be in residence the week of March 7, with his company, performing, participating in discussions and events. The company will give the West Coast premiere of Cunningham's Split Sides, along with Suite for Five.
Cunningham will also discuss his life and work with New York Times chief dance critic John Rockwell.
The program includes such events as the creation, by students, alumni, and faculty of the dance and music departments, of chance-based dance and music, a technique Cunningham uses frequently, most recently with Split Sides, in which he rolls dice to determine and compose the elements of performance.
Cunningham was the second male dancer in Martha Graham's company, which he performed with from 1939 to 1945. His first solo concert in New York was with composer John Cage (another adherent to the mysteries of chance) in 1944, and his own company was formed at Black Mountain College in 1953. He has choreographed over 150 works.