Wickiworld: Merce and Me

The weather broke for the better, and a breeze and cooler air wafted over the kids, grown-ups, dancers and those who merely stand and drool at dancers. We were all a part of a presentation to honor Merce Cunningham, a presentation of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Councils’ River to River Festival. This airy Monday night memorial was a celebration for the beloved choreographer Merce Cunningham, who passed away exactly a year ago. The evening was called We Give Ourselves Away at Every Moment.

The dance community coalesced to pay tribute to Cunningham’s influence by using his iconic methods in his familiar spirit of rigorous play. There was a simple wooden platform erected in the midst of Rockefeller Park and dancers warmed up flying across the stage or stretched while the toddler set—I had two in tow—hit the swings, sand, or water in a mode of active waiting.

Finally the speakers screeched and blared and we were all drawn to watch. The event was curated and produced by Annie B. Parsons and William Knapp and works were created by Lucinda Childs, Susan Marshall, Jon Kinzell, Faye Driscoll, and Bill T. Jones, who roamed and circled the crowd’s perimeters with the grace of a linen-clad lion.

There were no tickets, no permits, no chairs, just a lazy sprawling crowd, who knew or didn’t about the wealth of art Merce poured into the New York City and world artistic community for decades. But often art outside can be best digested by those who stumble upon it and are reminded that glory and majesty crop up. Like the crayon-green grass or the sparkle on the water, some things need to be glimpsed without fanfare so we can ruminate on them later.

About the author: Wickham Boyle, known as Wicki, has written for The New York Times, National Geographic, and other publications. She was a founder of CODE and ThriveNYC  magazine, executive director of La MaMa theater, and author of A Mother’s Essays From Ground Zero, which debuted as an opera in 2008. She has an MBA from Yale and worked as a Wall Street stockbroker. At Memory & Movement, she writes about memorizing poems while walking along the Hudson.

Recently in Wickiworld:
Cheesecake in Tribeca
• Wooly Bully
• Tickling the Ivories
• She Writes Grows Up
• Tumbling Down Memory Lane with Suellen Epstein


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