In honor of the 100th anniversary of Merce Cunningham‘s birth, Cunningham trustee and NYU professor Rashaun Mitchell has curated a program celebrating Merce’s legacy, with works from choreographers Netta YerushalmyMoriah Evans, and Mina Nishimura, plus two Cunningham solos performed by Shayla Vie Jenkins and Keith Sabado.

Learn more in Professor Mitchell’s Indefinite Article, written exclusively for NYU Skirball.


Prep School: Stonewall

Readings in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, commemorated in NYU Skirball’s 2019 programming.

Rashaun Mitchell on Merce

So how long are the shadows cast by our predecessors?

Read All About It

Joan Acocella | The New Yorker

The Playful Legacy of Merce Cunningham

When Merce Cunningham died, in 2009, Mitchell and Riener were star dancers in his company, and at the Joyce, even a decade later, they were able to remind us—concretely, in the flesh—what a huge change Cunningham made in the theory and the practice of modern dance in the second half of the twentieth century: how much cleaner and more serious he made it look. That would have been enough. You caught your breath. Here it was, still alive!

Alistair Macaulay | The New York Times

Communing With a Master Choreographer in a Long Farewell

To watch performances by a dance company that perfectly understands the behests of its living choreographer can seem a supreme and many-layered thrill. Very occasionally, however, the level actually rises when the choreographer dies… After Merce Cunningham died in July, it likewise seemed in every sense that there could be nothing better to do than to watch his company.

Get Thee to a Library

Readings to complement Rashaun Mitchell’s Indefinite Article.

Carlos Basualdo, Merce Cunningham: Common Time. Walker Art Center, 2017.

Merce Cunningham, Changes: Notes on Choreography. Something Else Press, 1968.

Merce Cunningham and Jacqueline Lesschaeve. The Dancer and the Dance: Merce Cunningham in Conversation. Marion Boyars Publishers, 2000.

Richard Kostelanetz, editor, Merce Cunningham: Dancing in Space and Time. Da Capo Press, 1998.

David Vaughan and Melissa Harris, editors, Merce Cunningham: Fifty Years. Aperture, 2005.

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Meet the Choreographers: Netta Yerushalmy

Netta Yerushalmy is an award-winning choreographer based in New York City. Her work aims to engage with audiences by imparting the sensation of things as they are perceived, not as they are known, and to challenge how meaning is attributed and constructed. Honors and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Jerome Robbins Bogliasco Fellowship, a National Dance Project Grant, a NYFA Fellowships, a Six-Points Fellowship, and recently a 2018 Grant to Artists from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Yerushalmy’s dances have been commissioned and presented by venues such as the Joyce Theater, American Dance Festival, Alvin Ailey Foundation, Danspace Project, New York Live Arts, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Centre National de la Danse (Paris), Suzanne Dellal Center (Tel-Aviv), Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin).

Yerushalmy works across genres and disciplines: she contributed to artist Josiah McElheny’s Prismatic Park at Madison Square Park, choreographed a Red Hot Chili Peppers music video, collaborated on evenings of theory and performance at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (Berlin), and is involved in the production of Spinning by composer Julia Wolfe and cellist Maya Beiser. She has received repeated support from the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Harkness Foundation for Dance, Djerassi Art Program, and Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center. Guest artist engagements include The Juilliard School, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, University of the Arts, and HaMaslool Conservatoir. Commissions from repertory companies include Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Zenon Dance Company, and SPDW. As a performer, Yerushalmy has worked with Doug Varone and Dancers, Pam Tanowitz Dance, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and Joanna Kotze, among others. Originally from Israel, Yerushalmy relocated to New York in 1996 to earn a BFA in dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Brian Seibert | The New York Times

In ‘Paramodernities,’ Words and Dance Do Battle. The Audience Wins.

If dance is a kind of knowledge, what kind is it? Who has the right to dance what? Is a legacy public, and what can legitimately be done to it? What do staged bodies signify, other than mere form?

Gia Kourlas | The New York Times

Netta Yerushalmy’s Cabinet of Dance Curiosities

The choreographer Netta Yerushalmy has invented a recipe for her latest work, “Paramodernities”: Take six classic dances. Chop them up. Then tear open the modern canon, with equal parts love and fury.

Gus Solomons Jr. | Dance Magazine

Netta Yerushalmy is Changing Our View of Modern Masterpieces

It’s about conversation in a real way, about making something that’s part of a lot of larger circles—dance, questions about feminism, or whatever—and all of us can partake in some of that.

Meet the Choreographers: Moriah Evans

Moriah Evans is an artist working in and on the form of dance. Her choreographies navigate utopic and dystopic potentials and tendencies within dance, approached as a fleshy and matriarchal form sliding between minimalism and excess. Evans was an Artist-in-Residence at Movement Research, The New Museum, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Issue Project Room, Studio Series as New York Live Arts, and MoMA/PS1. She initiated The Bureau for the Future of Choreography, a collective apparatus involved in research processes and practices to investigate participatory images of performance and systems of choreography. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Movement Research Performance Journal, Curatorial Advisor for the Tanzkongress 2019: Long Lasting Affair, and a facilitator/curator for Dance and Process at the Kitchen with Yve Laris Cohen. She received the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (2017) and a Bessie Award nomination for Emerging Choreographer (2015).

Gia Kourlas | The New York Times

Moriah Evans: Communitarian, Feminist, Dance Maker

If it’s been a while since you got in touch with your senses, the choreographer Moriah Evans can help: She likes to create experiences not only for her dancers, whose movement jerks and stutters as if an electrical current is passing through their spines, but also for her audiences.

Alex Greenberger | Art News

Shaking the Foundations: In Moving New Dance Work, Moriah Evans Sets Bodies Free

Evans’s choreographic concerns could lend themselves to bone-dry theorizing and self-seriousness, but, as in her past work, Configure was visceral and immediate. It was a work that viewers could feel in their veins, coursing around.

Movement Research

Moriah Evans in Conversation with Will Rawls

One reason why I love dance–and I use the word dance and not choreography–is that dance can escape or evade or decimate choreography. Institutional critique must be contained within the form—of an action, of a dance step, of the frame and viewpoint onto the work.

Meet the Choreographers: Mina Nishimura

Mina Nishimura is a dance artist from Tokyo. She studied butoh and improvisational dance through Kota Yamazaki’s teaching while attending Merce Cunningham Studio’s International Program for 4 years. In New York, she has been performing and collaborating with ground breaking dance, theater, film and music artists, in most recent years, such as John Jasperse, Dean Moss, Neil Greenburg, SIA, Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener, Vicky Shick, Nami Yamamoto, Celia Rowlson-Hall, Ursula Eagly and Ellen Fisher. Her recent choreographic work has been commissioned by Danspace Project, UC Davis, Mount Tremper Arts and Gibney Dance and developed through AIR programs at The Camargo Foundation, Movement Research, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and Chez Bushwick. In recent years, she also served as a curator for Movement Research Spring Festival, Danspace Project/Food for Thought, Mount Tremper Arts/Watershed Program, Sundays on Broadway and whenever wherever festival (Tokyo). Nishimura is a 2019 recipient of Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant to Artists award, and is a current faculty at Sarah Lawrence College and Movement Research.

Siobhan Burke | The New York Times

In ‘Bladder Inn,’ Waiting for Dancers to Wander Away

An entrancing performer in her own work and others’ … Ms. Nishimura can’t help but be a focal point onstage. … She doesn’t demand attention, she just attracts it, in part through her ability to embody multiple qualities at the same time.


Talking to Mina Nishimura

Drawings figured highly in Nishimura’s process for both the solo and the group piece. In her highly associative mode of creating, text ignites strong mental images, and those images lead fluidly—yet never too literally—to movement.


Mina Nishimura & Julian Barnett Double Plus

Mina’s Sinking While Floating, Singing While Thinking  plays out as if she had exploded herself into four component parts [who] tune into discrete disruptions of posture and dissolve again in gentle encounters, evoking their choreographer’s inimitable style without apparent mimicry.

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