Merce Cunningham Dance Company
“Since everyone knows about the choreographic revolution you created, or at least, everyone who cares knows, what haven’t you spoken about that interests you?” I asked Merce Cunningham the first time I met with him as the company’s publicist for its City Center season. It was noon on a bright November day in 1980. Merce was munching on a peanut butter on broccoli bread sandwich during his lunch break in his West Beth studio. “Food,” he replied looking up for a brief moment. “Food?” I asked slowly. “Yes. You know John made both the peanut butter and broccoli bread,” he said. “Would you like to try it?” I shook my head. He then went on to tell me about John Cage and his macrobiotic diet based on a suggestion from Yoko Ono. “Food?” I repeated to myself as I crossed the empty studio, “Well, you asked him what he wanted to talk about.” I shook my head. As the steel doors of the elevator slid open, it hit me: The Dining section of The New York Times! I knew a dance fan there, and called her. Her editor loved the idea. A dinner party was arranged at Merce and John’s loft on 18th Street. The resulting article was huge. On the front page of the Dining section, complete with John’s recipe for ginger chicken. I think Merce thought the piece even better than the cover story we got on him in The New York Times Sunday Magazine the following season, and the 10 minute segment we achieved for him on The Today Show. We worked with Merce for over two decades.
Years: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
Art form: Dance