Mikhail Baryshnikov and Merce Cunningham Dance Company at REDCAT Benefit

Baryshnikov and Cunningham

Merce Cunningham and Mikhail Baryshnikov in 'Occasion Piece' (1999) | Photo: Robert Whitman

Two of the most recognizable names in dance–Mikhail Baryshnikov and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company–headline a show on June 7 to benefit REDCAT and the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, which works to preserve the legacy of the iconoclastic choreographer, who died at 90 last year.

The evening at REDCAT marks the Dance Company’s final appearance in Los Angeles, following public performances (June 4-6) of the premiere revival of Roaratorio (1983), featured as part of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center series.

Baryshnikov, the noted Russian ballet dancer who defected to Canada in 1974, has had a long and storied history in dance with Cunningham.

From The New York Times:

That interest goes back to the late 1970s, not long after Mr. Baryshnikov moved to the West. In the 1980s, as artistic director of American Ballet Theater, he added Mr. Cunningham’s “Duets” to the company’s repertory; in the 1990s, as director of the White Oak Dance Project, he added Mr. Cunningham’s “Septet” to its repertory, sometimes dancing the central role himself.

At a 1997 Brooklyn Academy of Music benefit for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Mr. Baryshnikov danced a solo Mr. Cunningham had created for himself, in “Walkaround Time” (1968); at the prestigious 1999 New York State Theater season celebrating Mr. Cunningham’s 80th birthday the two men shared the stage in a duet made by Mr. Cunningham and never seen again. Even seasoned Cunningham performers, who are usually critical of the approximations made by nonspecialists trying to tackle the rigors of Cunningham style, were deeply impressed by how well Mr. Baryshnikov exemplified its principles.

The REDCAT performance will feature Occasion Piece2, a version of a work that Baryshnikov and Cunningham originally performed together in 1999. The music is from “Song Books” by–another longtime Cunningham collaborator and his life partner–composer John Cage.

An extremely limited number of tickets for this intimate benefit event are still available. For more information or to reserve a seat, please email info.REDCAT@calarts.edu.

Special Benefit
with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and guest artist Mikhail Baryshnikov
June 7
6 pm cocktail reception and 7:30 pm performance

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