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Honorary Fellow

Merce CUNNINGHAM

1999 Honorary Fellow

Citation

Merce Cunningham received his first formal dance and theatre training at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.  From 1939 to 1945, he danced as a soloist in the Martha Graham Dance Company while embarking on his own career in choreography.  In 1953, he founded the Merce Cunningham Dance Company with john Cage as musical director.  Since then, Cunningham has created over two hundred works for his company and is known as the father of post-modern dance.

Cunningham is one of the most influential choreographers in the Western dance world.  His theories and practices have inspired a new form of modernism.  Hs works are included in the repertoires of numerous dance companies.  Among them are the New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Boston Ballet, White Oak Dance Project, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Cullberg Ballet (Stockholm.), Rambert Dance Company (London), Ohio Ballet, Repertory Dance Theatre (Salt Lake City) and Théâtre du Silence (France).

Cunningham’s artistic progeny include the major choreographers of the late twentieth century.  Through Academy staff who have studied with Cunningham, a connection was built between the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and Cunningham.  In May 1999, the Academy School of Dance students have the privilege to perform Cunningham’s work, an honour which is only enjoyed by a few of the World’s most prestigious dance companies and schools.  The technically demanding work, Changing Steps, was selected by Cunningham for Academy students in recognition on their facility, clarity and artistic maturity.