By: Joanna Connelly | January 24th, 2020


Cunningham is in select theaters on January 24th, 2020.

Cunningham is a documentary about modern dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, whose works have had a lasting impact on avant-garde art in the dance world and beyond. The trailer for this movie drew me in with beautiful modern shots of dancers performing in picturesque landscapes. These pieces are interspersed with archival footage of interviews and dancing by both Cunningham himself and members of his company, weaving the story of how he went from a struggling artist to a revolutionary one.

In my opinion, those pieces that drew me in from the trailer are worth seeing, but in hindsight I would have preferred to see each dance in a short, individual YouTube video and watched one a day or so until I made it all the way through. The choreography is original, the costumes and settings are stunning, and there are some really satisfying moves to watch, but it did feel a bit repetitive after a while.

An interesting thing I learned from watching this film is that Cunningham collaborated with some famous creatives I have heard of. He worked with composer John Cage (best known for 4’33”, a four-and-a-half-minute composition that is completely silent) as well as artist Andy Warhol, whose Silver Clouds sculpture was incorporated into the staging for a dance piece to stunning results. Despite these small gems, I can’t really recommend this tedious movie.

Rating: 2 out of 5


Joanna Joanna Connelly (Guest Contributor) was born and raised in Metro Detroit. A fan of thought-provoking thrillers and indie films, she also enjoys a good chick flick. When not at the movies, she can be found running, reading, or writing bar trivia.
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