Cal Performances :: Music, Dance, Theater :: University of California Berkeley

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Dance, Merce Cunningham Dance Company: The Legacy Tour, March 3-5, 2011, Merce Cunningham reinvented dance, and then waited for the audience -- Mikhail Baryshnikov, Patron Sponsors: Susan Marinoff and Thomas Shrag


The revolutionary American dance company makes its final visit to UC Berkeley, culminating a relationship that began in 1962 with those first remarkable performances in Wheeler Auditorium. Following the choreographer's death in 2009, MCDC embarked on the two-year farewell Legacy Tour, in accordance with the Cunningham Dance Foundation's Legacy Plan for the future of the company and the preservation of Cunningham's work. MCDC will disband after a final performance in New York City on December 31, 2011. For its final visit to Zellerbach Hall, the company will perform two U.S. premieres of historic remountings—Pond Way and Antic Meet—along with the now-classic Sounddance and Roaratorio.

Pond Way (1998)—lyrical, contemplative, often sensuous—is one of Cunningham's most beautiful nature studies, evoking the effects of water as the dancers move in wavelike motions across the stage. Antic Meet (1958) captures the exuberant and collaborative spirit that existed between Cunningham and Robert Rauschenberg for nearly 70 years. In the fast-paced Sounddance (1975), dancers emerge from a tent-like structure, and remain onstage until they are swept back in, as though in a wind tunnel. And Roaratorio (1983) represents one of Cunningham's most ambitious and large-scale collaborations with John Cage. Set to Cage's extraordinary Roaratorio, an Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake, Cunningham's choreography incorporates motifs on Irish jigs and reels, a "hopping" dance, promenades and strolls, and folk dances that suddenly expand into huge communal circles.

Program A (Thu & Fri): Cunningham: Pond Way, music by Brian Eno, décor by Roy Lichtenstein · Antic Meet, music by John Cage, design by Robert Rauschenberg · Sounddance, music by David Tudor, décor by Mark Lancaster

Cal Performances is a co-commissioner in the reconstruction of the historic repertory piece Pond Way.

Program B (Sat): Cunningham: Roaratorio, music by John Cage, design by Mark Lancaster

Related Events

Fri, Mar 4, 7-7:30 pm
Zellerbach Hall
Pre-performance talk with company archivist David Vaughn and executive director Trevor Carlson. This Sightlines event is free to all event ticket holders.

Donor Intermission Reception
Fri, Mar 4
(Donors of $1200+)

Producer's Circle members are invited to join us for complimentary refreshments in our donor lounge, the Zellerbach Room, located on the north side of the Zellerbach Hall lobby. For especially popular events, find us on the Mezzanine at Zellerbach Hall. Donor Intermissions are the perfect place to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in the company of other Producer's Circle members.

Not a Producer's Circle donor? To find out how you can join and take advantage of membership benefits like this while helping Cal Performances with much needed contributions, please call 510.642.8653 or see our Support section.

Special Screening: Tacita Dean's Craneway Event Bay Area Premiere
Thu, Mar 3, 7:00 pm and Sat, Mar 5, 5:00 pm
Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft Way

Presented by Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive and Cal Performances in honor of the MCDC Legacy Tour

In November 2008, British artist Tacita Dean filmed choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919-2009) rehearsing his dance company in Richmond's historic Craneway Pavilion on his final visit to the Bay Area. Shot in 16mm color anamorphic film, the work documents the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) over three days. The setting is the 1931 industrial space designed by Albert Kahn as a Ford Motors assembly plant. The building's vast expanse of windows displays dramatic views of the San Francisco Bay and suffuses the Pavilion with natural light, adding an ephemeral quality to Dean's piece. Her film allows us to observe dance without music; Cunningham's frequent practice, developed with his longtime collaborator John Cage, was for the dancers to hear the music for the first time during the actual performance. 108 minutes. Promotional price: $7.50 (must show MCDC ticket stub). For more information: 510.642.1412 or

Program Notes

Program notes are available online. [PDF]


Four works by Merce Cunningham works will be presented by Cal Performances, a longtime commissioner of the choreographers work, during the 2010/11 season. The company returns to Berkeley March 3-5, 2011, as part of its Legacy Tour before disbanding. Listen to company historian David Vaughan and others talk about Roaratorio and Sounddance.


Contra Costa Times review/preview article "Legendary Merce Cunningham Dance Company opens final Bay Area series"
Read the article >>

Parking Alerts

Parking may be a problem on campus for the Sat, Mar 5, performance due to a Cal Men's Basketball game. Please see our Parking Alert section for more information.

Purchase Tickets

Thu, Mar 3, 8 pm
Fri, Mar 4, 8 pm
Sat, Mar 5, 8 pm
General Questions:

Ticket Office: 510.642.9988

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