In Conversation with Merce
Excerpts from Merce Cunningham’s Landrover (1972)
In Conversation with Merce is a filmed presentation featuring an arrangement of solos and duets from Merce Cunningham’s Landrover, and two world premieres by choreographers Kyle Abraham and Liz Gerring created in response to the 1972 work. According to Cunningham, Landrover – a large-scale ensemble piece created at his Westbeth studio in Manhattan – was inspired by “people moving in different landscapes. American perhaps in the sense that we move in our country – across varied spaces – with varied backgrounds.” The Landrover excerpts, performed by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater members Chalvar Monteiro and Jacquelin Harris, and the new works by Abraham and Gerring, performed by members of their companies, were filmed August 2021 in the John Cage & Merce Cunningham Studio. The program is introduced by Merce Cunningham Trust trustee Patricia Lent and includes interviews with Kyle Abraham and Liz Gerring.
Credits – Landrover (Excerpts)
Choreography: Merce Cunningham
Music: John King and Anaïs Maviel, 15/2
Costumes: After the original design by Jasper Johns
Costume Reconstruction: Reid Bartelme & Harriet Jung
Staged by: Jamie Scott
Dancers: Jacquelin Harris and Chalvar Monteiro
Landrover (1972) by Merce Cunningham (c) Merce Cunningham Trust.
Credits – World Premiere Choreographed by Liz Gerring
Composer: Michael Schumacher
Dancers: Mariah Anton and Cemiyon Barber
Rehearsal Assistant: Jamie Scott
Costumes: Reid Bartelme & Harriet Jung
Credits – World Premiere Choreographed by Kyle Abraham
Dancers: Claude “CJ” Johnson and Donovan Reed
Costumes: Reid Bartelme & Harriet Jung
Filmed by Tatyana Tenenbaum at Baryshnikov Arts Center
Kyle Abraham (Artistic Director, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham) and his choreography have been featured in O Magazine, Ebony, Vogue, Kinfolk, Document Journal, and several other publications. He is the proud recipient of a 2016 Doris Duke Award, 2012 United States Fellowship, several coveted Princess Grace awards including the 2018 Statue Award and in 2013, he was named MacArthur Fellow.
Over the past several years, Abraham has been commissioned by a variety of dance companies, including The Royal Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, New York City Ballet (NYCB), Paul Taylor American Modern Dance (PTAMD), and National Ballet of Cuba, among others. Highlights include Abraham’s collaborations with NYCB—When We Fell, which The New York Times reviewed as “among the most beautiful dance films of the pandemic” and The Runaway, which was recognized as one of the “Best Dance(s) of 2018.” Abraham also created Only the Lonely in 2019 for PTAMD, being selected as the final choreographer Paul Taylor commissioned before his passing. Additionally, Abraham has been commissioned by Fall for Dance Festival, premiering to be seen, a solo for American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Calvin Royal III in 2020 and Ash, a solo work for American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Misty Copeland in 2019. The University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance named Abraham to the Claude and Alfred Mann Endowed Professorship in Dance starting Fall 2021. He is the Artistic Director of A.I.M, the internationally acclaimed New York-based dance company. In 2011, OUT Magazine labeled him as the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama”.
Liz Gerring was born in San Francisco in 1965 and grew up in Los Angeles where she began studying dance at age 13. Gerring studied at the Cornish Institute in Seattle, and in 1987 she received a BFA from the Juilliard School. She formed the Liz Gerring Dance Company in 1998 and has been presenting her work in New York City and abroad continuously since that time.
Gerring was awarded the Jacob’s Pillow prize in June 2015 and a Joyce Theater Residency the same year. Between 2013-18, Gerring was commissioned for three works in collaboration with composer Michael J. Schumacher for Peak Performances at the Kasser Theater in Montclair NJ. In 2017/18 she was awarded a City Center Choreographic Fellowship and in 2019. Gerring was one of five artists to receive the Cage - Cunningham Fellowship from the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Gerring is currently working on a project with composer John Luther Adams and the Jack Quartet at the ICA Boston and Summer Stages. Gerring has been on the faculty of Groove With Me, an after school dance program for girls, since 2018. She lives in New York City and upstate NY with her husband Kirk Radke, her three children, two dogs, and a cat.