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Merce Cunningham Dies at 90

Monday, July 27, 2009

The famed avant garde dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham has died at age 90. A spokeswoman for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Leah Sandals, says Cunningham died on Sunday at his Manhattan home of natural causes. His career spanned more than 60 years and some 150 works. He revolutionized dance by wiping out storytelling and even tossing coins or dice to determine steps. He said the use of chance helped free his imagination. He worked closely with composer John Cage, his longtime partner who died in 1992, and with visual artists such as Jasper Johns. Though he had to use a wheelchair in later years, he remained an active artist. When he turned 90 in April, he premiered a long piece called "Nearly Ninety."

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