As a part of the Merce Cunningham Centenary festivities throughout 2019, NYU Skirball presents a celebration of Cunningham’s legacy through world premiere commissions of contemporary artists.

Rashaun Mitchell — a former Merce Cunningham Dance Company dancer and a Trustee of the Merce Cunningham Trust — curates this electrifying program of new work by Netta Yerushalmy, Moriah Evans, and Mina Nishimura, each presenting a responsive piece that draws connections of lineage to the celebrated choreographer. The program also features excerpts of choreography by Merce Cunningham, performed by Shayla-Vie Jenkins and Keith Sabado.

“In Conversation with Merce is about legacy, where it lives boldly, where it lurks secretly, and where it lies dormant and unknown, like some long forgotten rune or talisman of purpose.” Read more in our Indefinite Article, “Rashaun Mitchell on Merce”.

Recommended by The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Time Out New York!


Merce Cunningham


Cunningham Centennial Solos
Choreography by Merce Cunningham © Merce Cunningham Trust. All rights reserved.
Performed by Keith Sabado and Shayla-Vie Jenkins

These solos were performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event. Keith Sabado performs solos from Canfield (1969), Exchange (1978), and Variations V (1965). Shayla-Vie Jenkins (May 4th only) performs solos from Fractions (1978) and Carousal (1987).

Moriah Evans


BASTARDS: We are all Illegitimate Children
Choreography and Performance: Moriah Evans with Cyril Baldy, Silas Riener, Carlo Antonio Villaneuva, and Merce Cunningham.*
Music: David Watson with John King and Sam Kulik
*This work may contain excerpts and citations from the work of Merce Cunningham that Silas Riener danced while a member of the MCDC.

“Moriah Evans’ exacting physical and theoretical practices extend collaborative traditions of scoring and systems building. Her choreography operates in a similar nexus of conceptual and physical virtuosity previously inhabited by Merce. But she brings a decidedly feminist use of form and structure that gives way to an affective and relational sensibility.”
Rashaun Mitchell 

Mina Nishimura


Hi, Merce! I Have a Question.
Performed by Mina Nishimura, with Samuel Hanson, Kota Yamazaki and …
Music: Beautiful People by Barbara Tucker

“Mina Nishimura was once an international student in the professional training program at the old Cunningham studio in the west village. The influence is not immediately apparent but seems to reside quietly in her sense of time, weight and curiosity. She creates sublime dances, drawings and texts – forms that articulated Merce’s ideas as well – but the content and stylistic choices could not be further apart.”
Rashaun Mitchell 

Netta Yerushalmy


Marc Crousillat, Alberto del Saz, Elizabeth Dement, Tess Dworman, Brittany Engel-Adams, Stanley Gambucci, Colin Heininger, Jennifer Lafferty, Jordan Lloyd, Jenn Nugent, Maile Okamura, Ambika Raina, Antonio Ramos, Myssi Robinson, Stacy Spence, Wallie Wolfgruber, and Netta Yerushalmy Executing Single Movements from Cunningham Rep with Permission from the Trust Organized by Type into a Catalogue Performed in Unison but also Not then Looped and Reduced and Minimized and Boomeranged So That It isn’t Cunningham Rep While Snippets of Merce Talking That are Looped and Reduced with Permission from the Trust Play in the Background And Other Things Transpire Too The More That Goes On The Better

“Netta Yerushalmy has spent the last couple of years with her Paramodernities project engaging with the idea that modernist lineages can be borrowed or claimed from far afield. Her kinetically rich movement funnels many historical influences towards a very contemporary, urgent aesthetic.”
Rashaun Mitchell 



On April 30 @ 7PM, join us for “After Merce: Choreographers Respond to Cunningham’s Legacy” – with Claire Bishop, Rashaun Mitchell, Netta Yerushalmy, Moriah Evans, and Mina Nishimura – at NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts. Free and open to the public, RSVP required.

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Merce Cunningham is widely considered one of the most important choreographers of all time. Throughout his 70-year career, he continued to innovate, helping to drive the evolution of the American avant-garde and expanding the frontiers of contemporary visual and performance arts. His collaborations with artists from every creative discipline yielded an unparalleled body of American dance, music and visual art.

Rashaun Mitchell is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the 2012 New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer. With his ongoing collaborator, Silas Riener, he received a 2014 City Center Choreographic Fellowship, was selected for LMCC’s inaugural Extended Life Development Program, and was a Wellesley College Artist in Residence. Other awards include a 2007 Princess Grace Award: Dance Fellowship, a 2013 Foundation for Contemporary Art “Grant to Artist,” and a 2011 New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award for “Sustained achievement in the work of Merce Cunningham 2004- 2012.” He is a Cunningham Trustee and licensed stager of the repertory. Mitchell is currently the Associate Chair of the Dance department at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.


Skirball Moves programming is generously supported by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and the Harkness Foundation for Dance.

This program is a part of the Merce Cunningham Centennial

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Merce Cunningham
Merce Cunningham by Annie Leibovitz | Courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust
Rashaun Mitchell
Moriah Evans
Moriah Evans | Photo Credit: Alex Beriault
Mina Nishimura
Mina Nishimura | Photo Credit: Hazuki Aikawa
Netta Yerushalmy Portrait
Netta Yerushalmy

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