MERCE CUNNINGHAM, American dancer and choreographer born (d: 2009); Cunningham was born in Centralia, Washington, and received his first formal dance and theater training at the Cornish School (now Cornish College of the Arts) in Seattle. From 1939 to 1945, he was a soloist in the company of Martha Graham. He presented his first New York solo concert with his lover, John Cage in April 1944. Merce Cunningham Dance Company was formed at Black Mountain College in the summer of 1953. Since that time Cunningham has choreographed nearly 200 works for his company.
In 1973 he choreographed Un jour ou deux for the Ballet of the Paris Opera, with music by Cage and set design by Jasper Johns. (A revised version was presented there in 1986.) The Ballet of the Paris Opéra also performed a revival of his Points in Space in 1990. His work has also been presented by New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, White Oak Dance Project, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Zurich Ballet, and Rambert Dance Company (London), among others. He choreographed right up until his death and will always be revered as one of the most important modern choreographers of the 20th century.