Monthly Archives: March 2022

Merce Cunningham

Merce Cunningham (April 16, 1919-July 26, 2009) is widely considered to be one of the most important choreographers of all time. His approach to performance was groundbreaking in its ideological simplicity and physical complexity: he applied the idea that “a thing is just that thing” to choreography, embracing the notion that “if the dancer dances, everything is there.”

Cunningham was born in Centralia, Washington, and attended the Cornish School in Seattle. There, he was introduced to the work of Martha Graham (he would later have a six-year tenure as a soloist with her company) and met John Cage, who would become the greatest influence on his practice, his closest collaborator, and his life partner until Cage’s death in 1992. In 1948, Cunningham and Cage began a relationship with the famed experimental institution Black Mountain College, where Cunningham first formed a dance company to explore his convention-breaking ideas. The Merce Cunningham Dance Company (originally called Merce Cunningham and Dance Company) would remain in continuous operation until 2011, with Cunningham as Artistic Director until his death in 2009. Over the course of his career, Cunningham choreographed 180 dances and over 700 Events.

Across his 70-year career, Cunningham proposed a number of radical innovations to how movement and choreography are understood, and sought to find new ways to integrate technology and dance. With long-term collaborations with artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Charles Atlas, and Elliot Caplan, Cunningham’s sphere of influence also extended deep into the visual arts world.

Cunningham earned some of the highest honors bestowed in the arts, and his dances have been performed by groups including the Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, White Oak Dance Project, the Lyon Opera Ballet, Ballett am Rhein, and Londons Rambert Dance Company.

Through the Merce Cunningham Trust, his vision lives on, regenerated time and time again through new bodies and minds.


Jan Martens, born in 1984, studied dance at the Royal Conservatoire of Dance at Artesis Hogeschool in Antwerp and at the Fontys Dance Academy in Tilburg.

He has performed with Mor Shani, Tuur Marinus, Ann Van den Broek and others. Since 2009 Jan Martens has been creating his own pieces, focusing on contemporary social topics with humor and a talent for gentle controversy, including Sweat Baby Sweat (2011), Victor (2013), The dog days are over (2014) and The common people (2016). He has been hosted in this capacity by Frascati, ICKamsterdam, CAMPO and DansBrabant.

In 2014, together with business leader Klaartje Oerlemans, he founded the production platform GRIP in Antwerp/Rotterdam to organise and distribute his work. From September 2014 to June 2016, Martens was artist-in-residence at tanzhaus nrw in Düsseldorf. From the summer of 2016 to the summer of 2018, he will be Artist Associé at the CDC Le Gymnase in Roubaix, Nord-Pas de Calais, and he will be Creative Associate at deSingel International Arts Campus in Antwerp until 2021.

Mathilde Monnier

Mathilde Monnier is a role model in French and international contemporary dance’s landscape. From piece to piece she defies expectations by presenting a work in constant renewal . Her nomination at the head of the Choreographic Centre of Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon in 1994 marks the beginning of a series of collaborations with personalities from various artistic fields (Jean-Luc Nancy, Katerine, Christine Angot, La Ribot, Heiner Goebbels…).

She created more than 40 choreographic works presented on the great stages of the Avignon festival, the biggest theaters of Paris, New York, Vienna, Berlin, London… and received several awards for her work: The French Ministry of Culture prize, the SACD Grand Prix. She was designated in 2014 to take the general direction of the National Dance Centre in Pantin until june 2019.