IF THE DANCER DANCES opens theatrically in New York (The Quad) on Friday, April 26th and in Los Angeles on Friday, May 3rd (Laemmle Music Hall) with a national release to follow.

IF THE DANCER DANCES invites viewers into the intimate world of the dance studio. Stephen Petronio, one of today’s leading dance-makers, is determined to help his dancers breathe new life into RainForest (1968), an iconic work by the legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham. With help from three members of the former Cunningham company, the film tracks Petronio’s dancers as they strive to re-stage this great work, revealing what it takes to keep a dance – and a legacy – alive. Timed to coincide with Cunningham’s centennial, IF THE DANCER DANCES is the first documentary on the subject of Cunningham’s work since his passing in 2009.

“The dance studio is a private and mysterious place. IF THE DANCER DANCES grants us rare access, bringing us into the studio to watch the staging of a Merce Cunningham masterwork on the Stephen Petronio Company. It’s the tracking of this intimate process, a dance being passed one body to another, that makes this film a great gift. ”  Mikhail Baryshnikov on IF THE DANCER DANCES

Merce Cunningham was an American dancer and choreographer who stood at the forefront of American modern dance for more than 60 years. As a choreographer, teacher, and leader of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Cunningham had a profound influence on modern dance and earned some of the highest honors bestowed in the arts, including the National Medal of Arts and the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellowship. Cunningham is also notable for his frequent collaborations with artists of other disciplines, including the musicians Radiohead and John Cage (also his life partner), as well as visual artists Andy Warhol, who did the décor for RainForest , the dance featured in If the Dancer Dances, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. 

Cunningham’s centennial is being celebrated worldwide in 2019 with performances, installations, films and other special events to honor his legacy. 

Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event (New York, Los Angeles, London)
This one-time special Cunningham Event, on what would have been his 100thbirthday (April 16, 2019), will be celebrated with live performance in each city. Taken together, this is the largest Cunningham Event ever.

In Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event,  each of the three participating institutions—the Barbican, London, BAM in New York City, and CAP UCLA in Los Angeles—will present a seventy-five (75) minute performance comprised of 100 solos choreographed by Merce Cunningham. In each city, a former dancer experienced in creating Cunningham Events will work with an associate stager and other Merce Cunningham Dance Company alumni to impart the choreography to a new generation of dancers. 

Further information: https://www.mercecunningham.org/activities

Produced by: Lise Friedman and Maia Wechsler

Directed by: Maia Wechsler

Official Selection: Dance On Camera 2018, Raindance 2018

Feature Documentary, 83 Minutes, USA

IF THE DANCER DANCES opens theatrically in New York (The Quad) on Friday, April 26thand in Los Angeles on Friday, May 3rd(Laemmle Music Hall) with a national release to follow.