Cover image for Merce Cunningham : the modernizing of modern dance
Merce Cunningham : the modernizing of modern dance
Copeland, Roger.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Routledge, [2004]

Physical Description:
xii, 304 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1785.C85 C67 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



First Published in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Author Notes

Roger Copeland is Professor of Theater and Dance at Oberlin College. He is coeditor of the widely used anthology What is Dance? His essays about dance, theater, and film have appeared in The New York Times, The NewRepublic, The Village Voice, and many other publications including The Encyclopedia of Dance and Ballet.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This first critical overview of the Cunningham's long career is the result of decades of study of Cunningham and his oeuvre. Arguing that Cunningham is one of the 20th century's three most significant choreographers of theatrical dance (George Balanchine and Martha Graham being the others), Copeland (theater and dance, Oberlin College) positions Cunningham as the watershed figure in American modern dance because his work led to a rapprochement between ballet and modern dance that opened the floodgates for myriad postmodern developments. The author contextualizes the many stages of Cunningham's career as he investigates Cunningham's significant influence on spawning new choreographic structures; the ways that Cunningham's dances served as creative stimuli for choreographers, dancers, and audiences; Cunningham's chance methods and reconception of the collaborative process; and his relationship to intellectual movements and to advances in technology. Written with Copeland's characteristic wit and impressive cross-referencing, this volume--illustrated by 15 photographs spanning the great choreographer's career--will best suit those with a serious interest in Cunningham and visual and performing arts in the US. Including an extensive bibliography and index that will make it especially useful for scholars, this book promises to be as influential as What Is Dance?, which Copeland co-edited with Marshall Cohen (1983). ^BSumming Up: Essential. All collections. S. E. Friedler Swarthmore College

Table of Contents

1 from Graham to Cunningham: An Unsentimental Education
2 Portrait of the Artist as a Jung Man
3 Beyond the Ethos of Abstract Expressionism
4 The Limitations of Instinct
5 Contemporary Classicism: Re-Discovering Ballet
6 Primitive Mysteries
7 The Sound of Perceptual Freedom
8 Cunningham, Cage, and Collage
9 Dancing for the Digital Age
10 Re-Thinking the Thinking Body: The Gaze of Upright Posture
11 Modernism, Post-Modernism, and Cunningham
12 Fatal Abstraction: Merce Cunningham and The Politics of Perception
13 Dancing in the Aftermath of 9/11