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Merce eyes legacy

Cunningham to close when founder's participation ends

The Cunningham Dance Foundation has announced it will close when its 90-year-old founder is no longer able to participate in the company’s activities. The org also launched an $8 million capital campaign to support the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Living Legacy plan, unveiled Tuesday.

Still at the helm of the venerable org, Cunningham has not set a specific signoff date but said that when he can no longer train dancers personally, the company will commence a two-year world tour with a final performance in Gotham.

After that, the org said, the Cunningham Dance Foundation’s assets will be transferred to the Merce Cunningham Trust (of which Cunningham is the sole trustee — he will name a successor when he retires). The dance company will likely close as well.

The capital campaign has been kicked off with lead gifts of $1 million each from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Nonprofit Finance Fund. Along with funding the tour, money from the campaign will go to provide dancers, musicians and staff with compensation and resources when the company shuts down.

Cunningham’s newest work, due to premiere this year, is titled “Nearly Ninety.”

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