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Live Dance Performances on the Main Stage

All choreography is by Merce Cunningham and staged by former MCDC dancer and curator of the Dancing around the Bride dance program, Daniel Squire. The dancers perform Merce Cunningham's work courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust. Costumes by Anna Finke.

In the Main Stage, the work of Merce Cunningham is represented through a program of live dance performed by former members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC). The dance program consists of twenty-five to forty-minute Cunningham Events, as well as solos, duets, trios, quartets, and quintets. Merce Cunningham's Events—dance performances, usually ninety-minutes in length, consisting primarily of sections excerpted from his repertory—have been described as the dance versions of readymades. Traditionally, Cunningham would cast dice on the day of the performance immediately prior to the rehearsal to establish which readymade sections of dance would appear, in what order, and (in non-proscenium instances) where "front" would be for each section. In this way, Cunningham's methods echoed those of Duchamp, embracing chance and freely recombining and reconfiguring previously existing material to create something new.

In Dancing around the Bride, Cunningham Events (conceived in relation to Cunningham's ninety-minute Events), as well as the solos, duets, trios, quartets, and quintets will provide a kaleidoscopic, firsthand experience of Cunningham's sixty-five year career. Daniel Squire—former MCDC dancer of eleven years and the curator of the dance program for Dancing around the Bride—has arranged these performances to draw from several of Cunningham's collaborations with Duchamp, Johns, Cage, and Rauschenberg, such as Suite for Five, Aeon, Interscape, XOVER, Story and RainForest.

Dancers include:
Lisa Boudreau
Brandon Collwes
Emma Desjardins
Holley Farmer
Jennifer Goggans
John Hinrichs
Daniel Madoff
Rashaun Mitchell
Marcie Munnerlyn
Krista Nelson
Banu Ogan
Jamie Scott
Daniel Squire
Melissa Toogood
Andrea Weber

Lisa Boudreau is a graduate of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. She was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1994 to 2008. Lisa is currently a private yoga instructor.

Brandon Collwes trained at the Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, the Creative and Performing Arts High School of Pittsburgh, the Juilliard School, and SUNY Purchase; then on scholarship at the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance, Dance Theatre of Harlem and twice at the American Dance Festival. He became a member of the CDF Repertory Understudy Group in October 2003 and joined the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in January 2006 where he danced up until its closure in December 2011. He has also worked with the Stephen Petronio Dance Company and Ian Spencer Bell. Currently, Brandon is artistic director of "Winded-Roof Dance," a traditional modern company that explores the possibilities of performance using all types of media outlets. This project is in formation with Joshua Tuason and Jennifer Rose. He is also a painter and sculptor.

Emma Desjardins grew up and began her dance training in Providence, RI. She moved to New York in 1999 to attend Barnard College where she trained and performed with their dance department. After graduating cum laude in 2003, she began her studies at the Merce Cunningham Studio. She became a member of the CDF Repertory Understudy Group in 2004 and was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from January 2006 through December 2011. Emma has been teaching Cunningham Technique since 2009.

Holley Farmer is a dancer known for her work with Merce Cunningham and Twyla Tharp. Merce created twelve original roles for her, and she won the Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement. She starred as "Babe" in the Broadway production of Tharp's "Come Fly Away," receiving an Astaire Award Nomination. She has recently appeared as a soloist at New York Live Arts, The Museum of Arts and Design, and La Mama with pending performances at the Joyce theatre. She holds a BFA, an MFA; is a Visiting Artist at Mills College and a Cunningham Stager.

Photo courtesy of Rita Antonioli

Jennifer Goggans began dancing in her hometown of Owensboro, KY, continued her studies at the Nutmeg Ballet and received her BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase. She has performed with the Louisville Ballet, MOMIX, Chantal Yzermans, Christopher Williams and was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 2000 until its closure in 2011. Jennifer became a faculty member of the Merce Cunningham Studio in 2005 and was named Assistant to the Director of Choreography in 2011. She has staged Cunningham works for the Augusta Ballet, Verb Ballet, Yale Dance Theater, Los Angeles Dance Project and the Paris Opera Ballet. Jennifer also studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and has created costumes for various New York choreographers.

Photo courtesy of Rita Antonioli

John Hinrichs was raised in Rochester, Illinois. He graduated with a BS in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also studied dance. He joined the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 2009 and participated in the farewell Legacy Tour. He has also danced in the Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group, Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theatre and Randy James Dance Works. John's new website,, compiles the collective knowledge of professional modern dancers in the areas of technique, performance, training and career.

Daniel Madoff was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 2007 until its closure in 2011. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from SUNY Purchase in June 2006. He has taught Cunningham technique master classes and workshops in New York, Washington D.C., Paris, and Mexico City. He continues to dance for Kazuko Hirabayashi, Nelly van Bommel, Christopher Williams, Robert Wood, and Pam Tanowitz.

Photo courtesy of Rita Antonioli

Rashaun Mitchell started dancing at Concord Academy in Massachusetts and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2000. Shortly after, he received the Viola Farber-Slayton Memorial Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, which allowed him to move to New York to pursue dance projects with an array of artists. In 2007 he was the recipient of a Princess Grace Award: Dance Fellowship, and in 2011, he received a New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award for sustained achievement in the work of Merce Cunningham (2004-2012). Rashaun is currently a Merce Cunningham Fellow 2012 and an artist-in-residence at Baryshnikov Arts Center. He was most recently nominated as an "Outstanding Emerging Choreographer" by the Bessies Committee 2012.

Marcie Munnerlyn is a native of Portland Oregon. She trained at Jefferson High School, Oregon Ballet Theater, and Cornish College of the Arts before moving to New York City in 2001. She began working with Merce Cunningham as a member of CDF Repertory Understudy Group in 2002, became a member of MCDC in 2004 and continued through the company's closing in 2011. Marcie is currently teaching in the Portland area and continues to perform Cunningham works through the Cunningham Trust.

Krista Nelson is from Champaign, Illinois. She received a BFA in Dance with high honors from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 2010 until its closure in 2011. Krista is currently a student in the post-baccalaureate program at Columbia University with plans to enter a Ph.D. program in neuropsychology.

Banu Ogan is a dancer and dance educator who began her career in 1993 with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, where she originated roles in ten new works. Since leaving the company in 2000, Banu has staged Cunningham's dances for several professional companies, including the Ballet de l'Opéra de Lyon, the Royal Swedish Ballet, and the Dutch National Ballet, and has taught technique class and conducted repertory workshops across the United States and abroad. She has performed in the works of Boris Charmatz, Pam Tanowitz, Jonah Bokaer, and Foofwa d'Imobilité. Banu serves on the faculty of Marymount Manhattan College and The Juilliard School and continues to perform as a freelancer.

Jamie Scott grew up in Great Falls, Virginia. She moved to New York to attend Barnard College, from where she graduated with a degree in dance. In 2007 Jamie joined the CDF Repertory Understudy Group, as a member of which she had the great fortune to work closely with Merce for two years. She was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 2009 until its closure in 2011. She is currently an apprentice with the Trisha Brown Dance Company.

Daniel Squire was born in Halifax, UK. He studied dance at White Lodge and at the Rambert school, concurrent with working as a percussionist in several semi-professional orchestras in Yorkshire and London. He then worked as a dancer with Michael Clark and Matthew Hawkins, as well as appearing as Tadzio in Britten's Death In Venice at Glyndebourne. After moving to the Big Apple, Daniel worked for many years with Merce Cunningham, performing around the world in theatres including Palais Garnier & Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), Staatsoper unter den Linden & Schiller Theater (Berlin), the Roundhouse, the Barbican, Tate Modern (London), Festival Theatre (Edinburgh), Kennedy Center (DC), New York State Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Rose Theater & City Center (NYC); with musicians including Radiohead, John Paul Jones, Sigur Rós, Takehisa Kosugi & Sonic Youth. He has also worked with John Kelly, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Paulina Olowska & Aye Aye Rabbit; and studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He continues to live in New York City and works internationally as a dance teacher, videographer, film-maker, editor and actor.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Carville for Magnetic Laboratorium

Melissa Toogood began working with Merce Cunningham in the CDF Repertory Understudy Group in 2005 and was a Merce Cunningham Dance Company member from 2008 until its closure in 2011. She has taught Cunningham Technique and repertory at the Merce Cunningham Studio, Dance New Amsterdam, Bard College and in Toronto, Miami, Minneapolis, and in her native city of Sydney, Australia. She was a founding member of Miro Dance Theatre as well as Michael Uthoff Dance Theatre and has performed in collaboration with writer Anne Carson. Melissa earned a BFA in Dance Performance from New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL under Dean Daniel Lewis. She currently performs with Pam Tanowitz Dance, Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener Productions, Robert Wood Dance and the Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre.

Andrea Weber was a dancer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company through its final 8 years, performing roles in over 25 works. Since the company's closing, Andrea has taught Cunningham technique and repertory at Brown University and the American Dance Festival. She is also working with Coleman & Lemieux Compagnie based out of Toronto.

Photo courtesy of Anna Finke

Special thanks to Drexel University, the Painted Bride Art Center and the Performance Garage for providing rehearsal space for former members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company over the course of the Dancing around the Bride exhibition.