By Creative Media Times
Directed by Maia Wechsler, “If The Dancer Dances” opens theatrically in New York (The Quad) on Friday, April 26th and in Los Angeles on Friday, May 3rd (Laemmle Music Hall) with a national release to follow.
The film is the first documentary on the subject of Merce Cunningham’s work since his passing in 2009. The dancer and choreographer had a profound influence on modern dance for more than 60 years, and has had numerous collaborations with musicians John Cage and David Tudor, and renowned artists Robert Rauschenberg and Bruce Nauman among others.
Here is part of the documentary’s synopsis:
IF THE DANCER DANCES invites viewers into the intimate world of the dance studio. Stephen Petronio, one of today’s leading dance-makers, is determined to help his dancers breathe new life into RainForest (1968), an iconic work by the legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham. With help from three members of the former Cunningham company, the film tracks Petronio’s dancers as they strive to re-stage this great work, revealing what it takes to keep a dance – and a legacy – alive. Timed to coincide with Cunningham’s centennial, IF THE DANCER DANCES is the first documentary on the subject of Cunningham’s work since his passing in 2009.
Merce Cunningham was an American dancer and choreographer who stood at the forefront of American modern dance for more than 60 years. As a choreographer, teacher, and leader of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Cunningham had a profound influence on modern dance and earned some of the highest honors bestowed in the arts, including the National Medal of Arts and the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellowship. Cunningham is also notable for his frequent collaborations with artists of other disciplines, including the musicians Radiohead and John Cage (also his life partner), as well as visual artists Andy Warhol, who did the décor for RainForest , the dance featured in If the Dancer Dances, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.